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Shaking Out the Numb, How It Happened, and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying

The really good stuff, though, rises from the large swaths of the show that involve scenes of sitting and talking — an unhurried Zoom call on a porch, a chat while someone’s cooking, and so on. Email

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Shaking Out the Numb is such a pleasant and unexpected surprise, though I’ll be frank in saying I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up the podcast last week. We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at nicholas.quah@vulture.com. Some of these scenes, Swan occasionally notes, are new and never before reported. And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! Tell me what you’re listening to. If you shift the angle of approach a little bit, it may occur to you that Shaking Out the Numb may be a messy variation on a profile. You’ll find a lot of conventions associated with experimental art: Scenes crash into each other, thoughts trail off, there are nature sounds aplenty. “It became this contest for who had the craziest ‘Oh my God’ anecdote about what Trump had said or done,” said Lozada of those books. That initial assumption was wrong. There’s a party, there’s an encounter, there’s a cigarette break that turns into an intimate romp. Shaking Out the Numb works out to be a fascinating package that’s dense with ideas, conceptually and sonically. • Given that Lost Notes: 1980 made my top three last year, I am of course excited that Hanif Abduraqqib is back with another podcast project: Object of Sound, which, interestingly enough, is being published by Sonos Radio. Hope you enjoyed it. I guess I just assumed the podcast would be one of those curious but rote exercises in brand marketing meant to plug the album, which is something we’ve been seeing flow out of the TV and film business lately. • This Day in Esoteric Political History has added a third co-host: Kellie Carter Jackson, an assistant professor of history at Hunter College, CUNY. 1.5x Speed: A Weekly Newsletter of Podcast Recommendations and Reviews
Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. Lozada has a new book out, What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, a meta-analysis of all the Trump-era books published over the past four years. How It Happened

Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Donald Trump stops being president today, which is as good a reason as any to listen to How It Happened, Axios’s new short-run audio series about the last days of the Trump presidency, which launched just yesterday. Photo: Vulture. More 1.5x Speed

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Tags: But the show equally lives up to its self-description as an experimental joint. Sign up here to get it weekly. Shaking Out the Numb was released back in November and timed to the rollout of the band’s latest record, Free Love, which had dropped two months before. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s just one of the many things that etch Shaking Out the Numb into your brain. While much of the podcast revolves around chats about the creative process and the lives of Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, “Party” sticks out as a stand-alone adventure. It’s finally Inauguration Day, folks. She joins Jody Avirgan and the historian Nicole Hemmer in leading the show, and she made her debut yesterday with an Inauguration Day special. One of them is to question the entire subgenre of Trump literature, which has principally been written by former insiders and well-sourced reporters who enthusiastically engage in the business of dishing out scenes of chaos, confusion, and fear from within the White House. To be sure, it effectively fulfills the role of marketing: I was left with the compulsion to immediately buy the record once I was done with it. “If you focus so much on that kind of story — which, yes, is important for the historical record — you may spend less time, relatively speaking, on [asking], What are the big consequences of what we’re seeing here?”

That critique came to mind while I was listening to the first episode of How It Happened, which can easily be sorted into the Trump Chaos canon. The project is pitched as an “experimental podcast” coming out of a collaboration between the band Sylvan Esso and Erica Heilman, a Vermont-based producer whom I know mostly from Rumble Strip, her state-specific collection of first-person narratives, which is broadly in the lineage of something like Radio Diaries. Find me on Twitter or reach me over email: nicholas.quah@vulture.com. It’s still riveting stuff, particularly if you, like me, can’t help but gaze at the car-crash spectacle. The end result is a tight collection of what feel like technical exercises unspooled in the service of what could be described as a more conventional function. The quotidian nature of the podcast is really soothing. That said, it should be noted that its most compelling episode, “Party,” is the one that breaks the most from this tranquil sensibility. As a production, it’s effective enough: Should you pick up the podcast, you’ll hear Axios political correspondent Jonathan Swan narrating his reporting on what went down in the immediate Trump circle on the night of the 2020 election, his Australian accent taking us into the tumultuous weeks that would follow, interspersed with clips from various cable news channels that help propel Swan’s narrative forward. The narration drifts in and out, pulsing forward on the rails of “Ferris Wheel,” an upbeat track on the record. What he unearths is largely what you’ve come to expect: more chaos, more confusion, more fear. This article was featured in 1.5x Speed, New York’s podcast recommendation newsletter. I haven’t read the book, but the interview gets into some of Lozada’s bigger findings and sentiments. In this week’s issue: the last days of Donald Trump, critiques of Trump literature, and a spectacular Sylvan Esso project. Terms & Privacy Notice
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• Speaking of Trump narratives, a shout-out to the accomplished WNYC’s Trump, Inc., which releases its finale this week. The show is climbing up the Apple Podcasts charts — to the extent that that means anything — and it recalls to my mind a recent podcast moment that has really stuck with me: NPR Politics’s recent book-club episode in which panelist Danielle Kurtzleben interviews Carlos Lozada, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize–winning nonfiction-book critic. Each of its five brief episodes, ranging between seven and 18 minutes, is structured around different thematic anchors that originate from tracks on Free Love. This entry sees members from Meath’s sister act, Mountain Man, orally reconstructing a night out on the hunt for a good time. It’s a really fun sequence injected with just a little spark of danger, and it leaves a trace of electricity in its wake. But it does leave me wondering if there was anything else truly new to be found in this Trump subgenre.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Megan Amram’s 103 Best Trump Tweets, Ranked

12:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 1, 2017

No. 61:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 12, 2018

No. 47:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 5, 2018

No. 21:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 30, 2017

No. 79:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 22, 2018

No. 82:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 1, 2018

No. 44:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 9, 2018

No. And now, here are Megan Amram’s top 103 Trump tweets (so far):

No. 25:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 16, 2017

No. It has been updated to include new Trump tweets from Amram that were good enough to qualify for this ranking. 13:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 8, 2017

No. 18:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 21, 2017

No. 57:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 30, 2018

No. 9:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 17, 2017

No. 37:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 16, 2018

No. 59:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 1, 2018

No. 4:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 16, 2017

No. 98:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 13, 2017

No. 66:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 21, 2017

No. 55:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 8, 2017

No. 11:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 25, 2017

No. 51:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 29, 2017

No. 88:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 6, 2017

No. 80:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 9, 2017

No. 77:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 24, 2018

No. 17:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 27, 2018

No. Photo: Vimeo/Abso Lutely

This post was originally published on May 31, 2018. 30:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 24, 2018

No. 71:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 14, 2017

No. 103:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 25, 2018

No. 50:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 11, 2017

No. 7:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 22, 2018

No. 67:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 8, 2018

No. 84:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 17, 2017

No. Same. 15:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 24, 2017

No. 14:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 31, 2018

No. 94:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 24, 2017

No. 78:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 20, 2018

No. 34:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 17, 2017

No. 53:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 11, 2018

No. 29:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 14, 2017

No. Additionally, Amram has delivered some of the most consistently funny and scathing Trump Twitter takedowns over the course of his presidency. 6:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 2, 2017

No. 8:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 10, 2018

No. 32:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 1, 2017

No. 97:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 5, 2018

No. 1:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 20, 2021

Tags: 33:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 18, 2017

No. 27:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 24, 2018

No. 100:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 13, 2018

No. 10:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 2, 2018

No. 23:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 10, 2018

No. 101:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 5, 2017

No. Megan Amram is many things: accomplished television writer, published author, and Emmy-deserving creator and star of her very own web series, An Emmy for Megan, which you should check out right here if you haven’t already. 35:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 4, 2018

No. 3:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 29, 2017

No. 48:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 19, 2017

No. 58:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 17, 2018

No. 2:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 7, 2020

No. 87:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 19, 2018

No. 68:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 28, 2017

No. 92:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 3, 2017

No. 65:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 11, 2017

No. 39:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 29, 2018

No. 99:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 21, 2018

No. 16:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 12, 2017

No. 81:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 2, 2017

No. 31:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 4, 2018

No. 38:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 27, 2017

No. 76:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 15, 2017

No. 70:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 25, 2017

No. 43:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 7, 2018

No. 60:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 8, 2017

No. 74:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 12, 2017

No. 54:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 7, 2017

No. 62:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 18, 2017

No. 20:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 22, 2018

No. 83:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 16, 2017

No. 40:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 15, 2017

No. 22:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 25, 2018

No. 72:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 28, 2018

No. 90:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 30, 2018

No. 49:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 21, 2017

No. 19:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 29, 2017

No. 26:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 30, 2017

No. 52:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 7, 2017

No. 41:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 28, 2017

No. 96:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 19, 2017

No. It was tough to decide which tweets to feature on this list and how to rank them, but ultimately, we feel like we’ve compiled a respectable beginner’s guide to the master-level Trump jokes you’ll find on Amram’s Twitter every day. To mark the occasion, Vulture decided to do the difficult work of combing through her hundreds of Trump tweets and ranking the top 103 she’s posted since May 2017. 95:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 11, 2018

No. 45:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 19, 2017

No. 73:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 23, 2017

No. 56:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 9, 2018

No. 5:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became covfefe— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 31, 2017

No. 86:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 29, 2017

No. 91:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 12, 2017

No. 46:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) July 5, 2017

No. 63:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 12, 2017

No. 42:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 2, 2018

No. 69:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 26, 2017

No. 102:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) May 29, 2018

No. 75:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 28, 2018

No. 89:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 29, 2017

No. 64:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 2, 2017

No. 93:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 23, 2017

No. 28:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 12, 2017

No. 85:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 19, 2018

No. 24:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) October 30, 2017

No. 36:

Today was the day Donald trump finally became president— Megan Amram (@meganamram) December 20, 2017

No.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Okay, You Can Unmute @POTUS Now

You can also follow Douglas Emhoff’s brand new @SecondGentleman account for what will undoubtedly be some high-level Wife Guy content. Photo: Patrick Semansky/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

As of 12 p.m Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, January 20, Donald Trump is no longer President of the United States. Jill Biden.) The first tweet from the newly Trumpless account takes a sharp turn away from the conspiracy theorizing and divisive rhetoric of the past four years, with President Biden promising to “[head] to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.”

Twitter news:@Transition46 has become @WhiteHouse@PresElectBiden has become @POTUS@SenKamalaHarris has become @VP@FLOTUSBiden has become @FLOTUS@PressSecPsaki has become @PressSecA new account, @SecondGentleman, is also live.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 20, 2021

If you did the smart thing by muting @POTUS back in 2017 (and Mike Pence’s @VP, which was also evil, just more banally so), you can go ahead and hit that “unmute” button now. Less than ten minutes after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, the official presidential Twitter account switched hands to the Biden administration. We did it. But equally important (at least to the man obsessed with live-tweeting Fox and Friends), he no longer has access to the @POTUS Twitter handle. It now features a GQ-esque photo of President Biden and an updated bio: “46th President of the United States, husband to @FLOTUS, proud dad & pop.” (The @FLOTUS handle has also switched over from Melania Trump to Dr. hello @joebiden I have been blocked by the president for four years can I get a follow plz— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 20, 2021

Related

Donald Trump Went Out As He Came in: Playing Songs by People Who Hate Him

Twitter Finally Bans Donald Trump

Tags: We did it, Chrissy. To be fair, Trump hasn’t had access to that Twitter account for the past two weeks. After weeks of spewing false claims of election fraud and years of slinging insults and lies, Twitter finally suspended Trump’s personal account and deleted tweets he sent from the @POTUS account after the ban went into effect. Still, it’s comforting to know I’ll never again accidentally scroll past a Trump tweet complaining about Fake News or Kristen Stewart breaking up with Robert Pattinson.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Return to Normalcy With Some Bernie Sanders Memes

He’s from Vermont, and as such, he has long been known as the only person who comes to the inauguration dressed appropriately for January. Photo: PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Today is a big day. https://t.co/dlaov1Zu7l— Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe) January 20, 2021

bernie brought something for Gaga to autograph 💕 Our little monster! Sure, Lady Gaga wore a ball gown, and J.Lo dressed like an angel for her “Let’s Get Loud” Woodie Guthrie remix. Wait, is Bernie is wearing the same jacket from his meme at the inauguration? I did love this moment and also is he carrying a check??! He eventually found his socially distanced seat and continued to provide a grounding, “Here on my lunch break for my grandsons’ recital” presence on the National Mall. But for Bernie Sanders, it is simply Wednesday, and he has things to do. No. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2t— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 20, 2021

Has there ever been a more Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders? Fixed it pic.twitter.com/DhW9JO20wG— Fraser Wilson 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇪🇺 (@FraserWilson95) January 20, 2021

Related

Watch Lady Gaga Perform the National Anthem at the Biden Inauguration

Jennifer Lopez Slips ‘Let’s Get Loud’ Into Her Biden Inauguration Performance

Garth Brooks Turns ‘Amazing Grace’ Into a Sing-along at Biden Inauguration

Watch Amanda Gorman’s Historic Poetry Reading at the Biden Inauguration

Tags: pic.twitter.com/q0DtVNpZbB— Alan Johnson (@TheAlanJohnson) January 20, 2021

I am once again asking that you not talk to me at parties. and Vice-President Kamala Devi Harris, which we have to assume is the third or fourth thing on his list for today, he was wearing his everyday coat and carrying a stack of mail, as one does. This is it. pic.twitter.com/rf0GibYSeV— becca slack (@ohboybeccaslack) January 20, 2021

Bernie really looks like he's on his way to mail something pic.twitter.com/Ig0w66FPzs— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) January 20, 2021

Not him bringing files!!! She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. pic.twitter.com/FpuTpB9tfp— Aubrey O'Day (@AubreyODay) January 20, 2021

In Jewish yoga this pose is: waiting for my wife at Loehmann's pic.twitter.com/Qik7wsZ0ad— Chandra Steele (@ChanSteele) January 20, 2021

I’m at the inauguration and my job is to keep checking if Bernie is warm pic.twitter.com/H8QVJp5XyM— broti gupta (@BrotiGupta) January 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/o6efKoFBgh— paul (@dearapriII) January 20, 2021

Ya’ll are so rude pic.twitter.com/r37lmAt84f— Marquita Harris (@mar_har) January 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/fsSqLn17XY— matt apodACAB (@mattapodaca) January 20, 2021

https://t.co/nIBet0PdMW pic.twitter.com/FF20zGINhm— DanCase (@Dan_Case) January 20, 2021

When you go to a September 3rd game against the Marlins and the Mets are losing 6-1 in the 5th pic.twitter.com/hThIWmbk3i— Metcisco Lindor (@sadmetsszn) January 20, 2021

It was a fine affair but now it’s over pic.twitter.com/K3OF5ydDJE— Tom Zohar (@TomZohar) January 20, 2021

If you’re looking through these thinking, Wow, this Bernie meme looks familiar, it’s because he is, in fact, wearing the same coat he wore in one of his 2020 campaign ads, the one that became the Bernie meme in which he “is once again asking you.” Because he can’t just be buying a new coat every year; he’s not the queen of England. Bernie serving first in the rush line energy pic.twitter.com/Xq2KzuhCQr— paul art smith (@PaulArtSmith) January 20, 2021

going to a concert after 30 pic.twitter.com/NDt6xfsanL— ilana kaplan (@lanikaps) January 20, 2021

when joe biden asks me to seek unity with fascists pic.twitter.com/WhPU4z3QQB— molly conger (@socialistdogmom) January 20, 2021

Realizing it's four bands not three pic.twitter.com/8UAh6QXtXh— Polyvinyl Record Co. When Senator Sanders (D-Vt.) entered the stands ahead of the inauguration of President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (@jonnysun) January 20, 2021

But his entrance was merely a harbinger of vibes to come. Although his lack of a hat remains worrisome to me specifically, his normcore representation inspired a fresh crop of gleeful Bernie memes — one of the internet’s less cursed genres of memes — so things are already looking up! But Bernie is neither a glamorous pop diva nor a hat-removing country gentleman like Garth Brooks. They’re made by a teacher from recycled water bottles, because Vermont. This is the Bernie. If you thought they were meant to communicate some kind of decadent, festive choice, rest assured that these are simply the mittens he always wears. Bernie said “this is a working inauguration, I don’t know what y’all are all smiling for” https://t.co/uN9oGrCjZB— Phillip (@MajorPhilebrity) January 20, 2021

same energy pic.twitter.com/fHb5ENGas7— jonny sun has a new book coming out in april! It’s actually the biggest day, from a ceremonial perspective, for our democracy. (@Polyvinyl) January 20, 2021

Bernie about to bounce before that parking lot becomes a nightmare. pic.twitter.com/b6wzZNv9KG— Obed Manuel (@obedmanuel) January 20, 2021

The one aspect of this that sets it apart from previous Bernie memes is the patterned mittens that take center stage here. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Donald Trump Went Out As He Came in: Playing Songs by People Who Hate Him

Photo: Shutterstock/Shutterstock

It’s fun to stay at the … White House with the 46th administration and fun celebrity guests! We also would’ve accepted C-H-E-E-T-O. After more than four years of musicians being routinely pissed off that Donald Trump used their songs at political events without permission, the one-term elected official ended his presidential career in a similar manner to how he started: unevenly applying some orange foundation and blaring songs from musicians who hate him. “He’s changed it to M-A-G-A or something,” one of the band members joked. pic.twitter.com/EJgQQv3qzi— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2021

Related

The History of Musicians Saying ‘Hell No’ to Donald Trump Using Their Songs

Tags: The Village People, who are still active, have also asked Trump to cease playing gay anthem “Y.M.C.A.” at numerous campaign events. Before and after his final speech as president earlier today at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” were cranked up to 100 on the speakers, with Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” playing as Trump’s plane departed from the airfield. Just an incredible segue. All three of these performers have previously expressed annoyance that Trump favors their catalogues, with two of these decrees coming from estates: Branigan’s management team has stated that it “vehemently” dislikes its association with Trump, while Sinatra’s daughter Nancy said that her dad “loathed” him prior to his death.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Jennifer Lopez Slips ‘Let’s Get Loud’ Into Her Biden Inauguration Performance

Photo: CBS News

Related

Watch Lady Gaga Perform the National Anthem at the Biden Inauguration

Tags: Indeed. “Well, that was great,” emcee Amy Klobuchar said afterward. Her outfit may have been more muted than one Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, but Jennifer Lopez served just as much surprise in her performance at now-President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. J.Lo’s performance of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” was slow, then it was fast, then it was a medley, then it was in Spanish, and by the end of it all, J.Lo even threw in a bit of “Let’s Get Loud.” A new American anthem for a new era, one in which CNN explains why A-Rod is at presidential events and time signatures are just recommendations.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Watch Lady Gaga Perform the National Anthem at the Biden Inauguration

Photo: CBS/CBS

Extreme “Panem official revealing her new and exciting Hunger Games arena” gestures here. Photo: CBS/CBS

This was a performance, with mic-cord choreo that would make even amateur stand-up comedian Amy Klobuchar jealous. Photo: CBS/CBS

Waving to the little people (the literal president of the United States). Gaga walked in looking like this was her coronation ceremony to rule over all of Genovia. Photo: CBS/CBS

The nation was not ready. Related

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Tags: Photo: CBS/CBS

With a golden dove brooch the size of an actual dove atop her breast, ’twas a rousing “Star-Spangled Banner” indeed. Yesterday, Gaga appeared as a dignitary from Planet Chromatica to meet with the National Guard and share a message of peace and love. Lady Gaga has been an integral part of the Joe Biden–Kamala Harris presidential campaign since she danced to “Bulletproof” to pump up the crowd at an election rally in November, which we’re not saying isn’t what gave them a 7 million popular-vote lead. You can tell Cole Emhoff is laughing in this shot. And on January 20, she sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris as the first female and Black and South Asian vice-president (and, because this is Stefani we’re talking about, Jill Biden as the first Italian American First Lady). Photo: CBS/CBS

7-Eleven on Slurpee Day.

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Watch Amanda Gorman’s Historic Poetry Reading at the Biden Inauguration

The young poet had the spirits of strong Black women with her at the lectern this afternoon, and not just Vice-President Kamala Harris’s. Jill Biden saw Gorman recite “In This Place: An American Lyric” at the Library of Congress in 2017 and contacted her about writing an original poem for the swearing-in ceremony just last month. Related

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Tags: The result is a timeless passage determined to face the future. Following Lady Gaga’s powerful rendition of the national anthem, Gorman took the stage in bright yellow and read “The Hill We Climb” to celebrate the occasion. Watch Amanda Gorman recite her historic poem, “The Hill We Climb,” above. / And this effort very nearly succeeded. Oprah Winfrey sent Gorman the gold earrings she wore, just as she had sent Maya Angelou a Chanel coat when she spoke at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. / But while democracy can be periodically delayed, / It can never be permanently defeated,” she recited from the poem she finished on the night of the Capitol riots. “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, / Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. This afternoon, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman made history reciting an original poem at the inauguration of President Joe Biden as the youngest inaugural poet ever. And Gorman continues the legacy of another Black woman poet, Elizabeth Alexander, who spoke at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Dr. In 2017, Gorman became the first National Youth Poet Laureate, just three years after being named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles.

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Garth Brooks Turns ‘Amazing Grace’ Into a Sing-along at Biden Inauguration

His performance announcement led to Twitter rage and calls for a boycott from Trump-supporting fans, who disapproved of what this signaled for conservative listeners. He sang most of the song on his own before calling on those in the audience, and most importantly those at home, to join him in a sing-along. Music superstar Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace” at the inauguration ceremony of President Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, and Kamala Harris as vice-president, which also featured performances by Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. However, Brooks is not single-handedly bringing in country to this shindig, as country stars Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard will perform their song “Undivided” at Celebrating America tonight. All right y’all, let’s all sing along to “Amazing Grace,” with our eyes closed so it shows we really feel it. Related

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Tags: If we’re gonna get anywhere, we’re gonna get there together.” The country hitmaker also joked that he would most likely be the only Republican at ceremony. Brooks has performed at every presidential inauguration ceremony since Jimmy Carter’s, except for Reagan and Trump’s. Like any good country boy, he donned a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, which he took off before singing, and a top-tier country dress ensemble including dark-washed denim jeans. The singer said in a press conference earlier on Monday, “The message they’re pushing is unity, and that’s right down my alley, man.

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The 20 Best Movies About American Presidents

20. But there’s a charm to the sheer ludicrousness of the proceedings, especially thanks to Benjamin Walker, who plays Honest Abe with such reverence that you get sucked into the film’s goofy, silly-serious tone. How reverential can anyone find the job after this? Writer-director A.J. Robin Williams’s Eisenhower and John Cusack’s Richard Nixon are both just strange, but there’s a little more going on with Alan Rickman’s Ronald Reagan (with Jane Fonda as Nancy!). It’s a movie that believes, truly, in the presidency and what it can achieve. 14. Jefferson in Paris (1995)

The film that ended Merchant-Ivory’s run of critical and commercial art-house hits, Jefferson in Paris is a muddled drama that’s not without some intriguing ideas rustling around inside it. Barry (2016)

An origin story of sorts that shows the formative years of Barack Obama, Barry follows our 44th president as a college student (played by Devon Terrell) in New York trying to find his footing in the big city. Primary Colors (1998)

The timing of the Primary Colors film couldn’t have been better: The Lewinsky scandal broke two months before the movie’s release, so its story of a smart, well-intentioned presidential candidate whose excesses wouldn’t allow him to get out of his own way felt particularly resonant. 4. Oliver Stone isn’t the sort of guy you’d picture as a Richard Nixon apologist, but even though he depicts our 37th president as an unsavory, power-hungry man, the JFK auteur also goes out of his way to explain what drove Nixon — namely, a sense of inadequacy that spurred him on throughout his life. Lincoln (1939)

Your basic superhero origin story, except this time the superhero is Abraham Lincoln and his superpower is discovering that he is, in fact, Abraham Lincoln. That’s probably going to change in 20 years. 11. It’s still particularly striking to watch it today, considering its big revelation — Nixon confessing — has basically happened already with our current president with Lester Holt, and it didn’t make a lick of difference. His mother is angelic.) There’s no saying filmmakers can’t create impressionistic portraits of famous figures, but this one drifts away so lazily that there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly pertinent to Lincoln’s legacy or impact in its making. Stone), the director seemed to understand something elemental about the disgraced president. 3. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site. Kennedy’s heroics during World War II was accused of hagiography when it was released, five months before Kennedy was shot in Dallas. There’s a genuine attempt to strip away Obama’s mythic persona — the real man was getting ready to wind down his time in the Oval Office at the time of the movie’s release — but Barry suffers a bit because it doesn’t have quite enough distance or perspective to really offer a compelling take on the transformative politician. 17. (Sorry, Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains.) This is a look at fictionalized characterizations of real-life presidents, for better and, often, worse. Neither damning nor satiric, W. History can wait. (The scene in which this happens will haunt your memories for years.) Murray isn’t bad, exactly, but he’s playing a cartoon, and the movie doesn’t cut much deeper. Again, this feels like it will all change because of our current situation. There’s a love story at Barry’s center — Anya Taylor-Joy plays one of his classmates — but director Vikram Gandhi is more interested in Obama’s search to find himself as he tries to come to terms with not feeling wholly comfortable with either white students or black friends. Tanne sometimes stumbles trying to bring significance to their date, which is why the movie works best when we’re just hanging out with likable characters getting to know one another. The movie undoubtedly lays the wood on several in Bush’s inner circle — Thandie Newton’s impression of Condoleezza Rice is particularly mean — as W. ponders what happens when a useful idiot falls under the sway of warmongers with bad intel. Spacey’s Nixon isn’t so much evil as he is pathetic, and the movie’s attempt to play the notorious meeting between Nixon and Presley as farce is a balancing act it can’t quite pull off. Grierson & Leitch write about the movies regularly and host a podcast on film. Young Mr. It’s tempting to view the ex-president as a stand-in for Altman, who at that point of his career was a commercial pariah who seemingly had lost the plot. The Better Angels (2014)

Produced by Terrence Malick, The Better Angels cast newcomer Braydon Denney as a young Abraham Lincoln living in Indiana with his mom (Brit Marling) and dad (Jason Clarke). Their whole life becomes an origin story. Watched today, it basically treats JFK as heroic as just about every other movie of the last 50-plus years has, only as a younger man. The Butler (2013)

This is the slightly cuckoo, slightly reverent Lee Daniels movie about a White House butler (Forest Whitaker) who serves multiple generations of presidents and attempts to raise a family (with wife Oprah Winfrey and son David Oyelowo; this movie does not lack a pedigree, that’s for sure) through a particularly combustible period in our nation’s history. Every aspect of a human being’s life, whether it’s before, during, or after his time in the White House, is filtered through that lens: This person once held the most powerful office in the world. But that’s the one thing these movies about real-life presidents have in common: the importance of the office contrasted with the basic humanity of the officeholder. If it weren’t about a president, you wouldn’t notice, and you wouldn’t mind: You’d like it just the same. Nixon (1995)

Cinema has no shortage of movies about monstrously ambitious American men who reach great heights, only to be undone by the same insecurities and failings that fueled their drive in the first place. (Lincoln’s father is stoic. A lower rung from Citizen Kane and There Will Be Blood, Nixon is all the more compelling because of the filmmaker who conceived it. Thirteen Days (2000)

2017’s Oscar-nominated Darkest Hour told of one of Winston Churchill’s most trying moments as he faced down Germany, and Thirteen Days does something similar for John F. But LBJ’s blandness outshines everything else. Kennedy, tracing the tense weeks during the Cuban Missile Crisis showdown with the Soviet Union. Harrelson’s barreling, vulnerable performance tries to show the wounded outsider within Johnson — an uncouth Texan out of step with the snobby East Coast Kennedy brothers — and the film builds tension as we watch LBJ become president and work to pass JFK’s monumental civil-rights bill. LBJ (2017)

What if you’d always wanted to be president, only to find out that the only way you’d become commander-in-chief is by taking over for a beloved POTUS who’d just been tragically murdered? 13.  

10. Directed by Roger Donaldson with a minimum of fuss, Thirteen Days emphasizes strategy, debate, deliberation, and anguished choices — it’s a film where the electricity comes from ideas and dialogue. Elvis & Nixon (2016)

Much of the prerelease buzz revolved around Michael Shannon’s wild interpretation of Elvis Presley, but now it’s hard not to watch Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon and feel … well, pretty gross about the both of them, to be honest. 2. Rob Reiner’s LBJ uses that as its provocative hook, casting Woody Harrelson as Lyndon Baines Johnson, a gruff, ambitious politician who failed to win the White House in his own right, settling to be vice-president to the charismatic but distant John F. PT 109 (1963)

This dramatization of John F. Played by Philip Baker Hall, Nixon is alone on screen for 90 minutes, roaming around his study recounting his failures and disappointments. is oddly wistful, almost regretful — rare sentiments in a Stone film. But Jefferson in Paris never quite succeeds as either a character study or a love story. Photo: Electric Entertainment, Lionsgate and Miramax

This article originally ran in 2018 and is being republished for Inauguration Day. The movie moves along well enough but, oddly, screeches to a halt every time we meet a president played by a famous actor who doesn’t so much inhabit the real-life figure as wave bemusedly behind his mask. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, Secret Honor is an unremittingly bitter and vengeful piece of work — the Nixon we meet doesn’t want our sympathy, but he’s more than willing to lay into his critics, desperately hoping to correct the record. There’s an undeniable amount of wish-fulfillment going on here: Southside With You is what we want to think it was like when these two lovebirds first went out, two bright people with their whole lives ahead of them. But as a courtroom thriller, it works, and the basic human decency of Fonda-as-Lincoln would be a model for hundreds of movies about lawyers and decent politicians alike. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Dopey and certainly bad for you — but, if you’re in the right mood, also wonderfully bonkers — this action flick hoped to cash in on the “historic figures or books, but with horror!” wave that also included Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. One aspect of all movies about real-life presidents — an aspect one worries future films will not share — is a reverence for the office of the president. But the Adams scenes have an extra kick: You never forget you’re listening to a president, using his powers for the ultimate good. 16. Instead, the movie’s optimism comes from its faith in politics itself, as Lincoln grinds the gears of government to try to fundamentally change the world by cajoling and palm-greasing and, if that doesn’t work, actually appealing to hearts and minds and people’s fundamental goodness. As a piece of cinema, this is an inherently stagy, talky film, but it’s so liberatingly angry that it’s explosive — especially during its blistering final moments. mostly pities a man who, according to the film, simply wasn’t equipped for the life that fate had in store for him. As such, the film has the appeal and limitations of a well-mounted play, but the actors (including Steven Culp as Bobby Kennedy and Dylan Baker as Robert McNamara) dig into the screenplay’s bare-bones, life-or-death drama. A whole movie with Rickman as Reagan might have been onto something. Also the real stars: some truly inspired down-credit casting, from Dave Foley as Haldeman, Harry Shearer as G. John Ford directed this courtroom thriller in which young Abe (played by Henry Fonda, who was 34 at the time) defends innocent brothers accused of murder, and the movie actually isn’t that much more ambitious than that: It’s more of a dry run for Perry Mason than Oliver Stone. Not really worth the effort or time. One rule about this list: We didn’t include documentaries. The movie, despite its mod fashion and sideburns, doesn’t make you nostalgic for the ’70s; it makes you nostalgic for 2008. Not surprisingly, Vampire Hunter was a commercial disappointment, but its cheesy gusto makes it perfect Sunday-afternoon cable viewing. Lincoln (2012)

The genius of Spielberg’s Lincoln — and we do think it’s one of his best films — is that it doesn’t focus on Lincoln the leader, or the orator, or the hero, though it of course also contains all those things. Anthony Hopkins doesn’t look so much like Nixon, but he embodies him, and the looming shadow of the Watergate investigation that dominates Nixon’s last third is both riveting and sickening — you can feel the sense of doom slowly enveloping a politician who, at heart, was always a fatalist. And yet, with Secret Honor (based on the play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. W. This movie feels like a missed opportunity — and a further indication of Reiner’s waning powers. Southside With You (2016)

The first of two Obama portraits to emerge in the final year of his presidency, Southside With You imagines how the future president’s first date with Michelle Robinson played out. Secret Honor (1984)

Richard Nixon was reportedly a big M*A*S*H fan, but it’s safe to assume that Robert Altman didn’t feel as warmly about him. (Though it didn’t help the film make a profit.) This was John Travolta at the peak of his powers, and his Clinton (or “Clinton,” wink, wink) oozes charisma while remaining slippery: It really does feel like Bill. You don’t walk away from Nixon with rosy feelings toward Tricky Dick, but you are swamped by the sense of the tragedy of his life — how his ego and anger and ambition could never ever transcend his self-doubt, no matter how much he hoped otherwise. 6. It will be interesting to rewatch Barry down the road: In several ways, the movie is less about Obama than it is our relationship to a president who seemed to be too good to be true — and seems even more that way now. 1. 12. (2008)

It would be easy to assume that Oliver Stone, liberal firebrand, would eviscerate George W. 9. Adapting Zombies novelist Seth Grahame-Smith’s book, which reimagined our 16th president as a kick-ass vampire slayer, director Timur Bekmambetov overdoes the gloomy grandeur and violent kill sequences. Dan Hedaya’s Nixon is adequately buffoonish and paranoid, but he’s just sort of passing through his own film; Williams and Dunst, happily, are the real stars. Everything else they do seems more important, more magnified: We look for insight into their soul in the most mundane, and least mundane, of life’s tasks. The camera swirls and glides over the actors, and the black-and-white imagery is gorgeous, but The Better Angels reduces the characters to mythic abstractions. As played by Nick Nolte, the Jefferson we meet is a man who’s lost, grieving a dead wife while trying to keep his nascent nation together, a storytelling perspective that offers some insights into the secret self-doubts of our Founding Fathers. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan). (Although it should be noted that Cliff Robertson was almost two decades older than Kennedy was when he played him.) The movie was made under the prowess of Kennedy’s father — who had once been a film executive — so JFK is made to look like the very best of humanity, but that seems like more of a problem for June 1963, when it was released, than, say, December 1963. The movie is straightforward and perfectly pleasantly made. 5. Looking at Thomas Jefferson’s tenure as American ambassador to France a couple of decades before his presidency, the movie draws from two romances he pursued at the time: with the painter Maria Cosway (Greta Scacchi) and his slave Sally Hemings (Thandie Newton). Bruce Greenwood plays JFK as a distant, complicated, hesitant figure, but the film is actually told from the perspective of his trusted adviser Kenneth O’Donnell (Kevin Costner). Related

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Tags: This is a movie that needed a lot more thought put into it — though if they had thought all that hard, they probably wouldn’t have made it at all. 8. Shockingly, W. Plus, Kathy Bates’s terrific performance reminds us of why we all believed in the Clintons … and how they ultimately let us all down. 19. Sort of a Before Sunrise–like romantic drama, writer-director Richard Tanne’s feature debut benefits from some pretty stellar casting in the form of Parker Sawyers’s reticent, charming Barack and Tika Sumpter’s strong-willed Michelle. Bush in his biopic. Not every president featured in these films is a great man. Stone makes a compelling argument that, deep down, Bush never really wanted to be president — if he’d stayed in Major League Baseball, he might have been happier — and yet, the whole world had to pay for his misreading of his talent and skills. But they are all Large Men, men of import and power. The Presley story here is a lot more interesting, and Spacey mostly seems to be doing an impersonation rather than an incarnation. Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln is a massive figure, but he doesn’t play him that way: He is just a guy trying to do what he can, using the materials he has, to do what is right. Gordon Liddy, Jim Breuer as John Dean, and, amazingly, Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch as Woodward and Bernstein, a couple of doofuses who have no idea what’s going on but do very much love being on television. Edwards (who served as an editor on To the Wonder and Knight of Cups) gives the proceedings an ethereal Malick-ian glow. Frost/Nixon (2008)

Ron Howard’s ticktock of how British journalist David Frost (Michael Sheen) got an out-of-office and exiled Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) not only on his television show but to confess to his crimes is smart, linear filmmaking, what you’d expect from Howard, but not much more. One wonders if Spielberg still feels that way six years later. Emma Thompson is kinder to Hillary than the next two decades would be, and the movie feels both of the moment and quaint today … neither of which is a bad thing. Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Bill Murray seemed to be trying for an Oscar with his portrayal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he sure picked the wrong vehicle here, a groaner of a “whimsical” historical drama in which FDR is a decent but flawed man who pauses from the responsibilities of the office occasionally to get hand jobs from Laura Linney. Josh Brolin plays Dubya as a good-natured underachiever who, after becoming a born-again Christian, decides he wants to do something meaningful. 15. 7. Dick (1999)

This goofy comedy sees the Watergate scandal through the eyes of two silly but smarter-than-they-look teenagers (Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst), and it works better as a comedy than any sort of real-life commentary. This is Spielberg trying to do for slavery what Schindler’s List did for the Holocaust, but, obviously, this subject isn’t as firmly in his wheelhouse; the subject would be handled infinitely better by black filmmakers years later. Amistad (1997)

Yet another movie in which white lawyers end up saving the day for their black clients, this one at least has a focused, earnest Steven Spielberg and a hammy, sort of glorious Anthony Hopkins playing John Quincy Adams, the former president who comes out of retirement to argue for the citizenship of a boat full of slaves in transit from Africa. 18.

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Did Matt James Seriously Just Spoil His Bachelor Winner on … Spotify?

Go away if you don’t want that. What’s next? Buy a burner phone. Hell, even learn how to live without music. Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

As the headline teases, this article will very likely reveal the winner of Matt James’s Bachelor season. The playlist, titled Night Drive and available to stream here, features 77 songs that include Greta Van Fleet’s “Highway Tune” and not, like, the Cars, which makes us question its integrity. Resharing closets on Poshmark? Because you could end up like Matt James, the LimeWire of leads. Related

Bachelor Matt James Finds It ‘Frustrating’ That Fans Assume His Winner Is White

Tags: Free advice to future Bachelor and Bachelorette leads: When your season ends, delete all of your apps. Years later, in 2019, a fan discovered that Colton Underwood ended up with contestant Cassie Randolph due to his public Venmo transaction history with her family members. (Meanwhile, this writer’s most recent Spotify playlist is called Rhythm Revue, a tribute to WBGO’s perfect weekly jazz show!) Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Georgia, has had minimal screen time during the season so far, only emerging as a front-runner this week as a group-date rose recipient. As first alerted to us by the Bachelor sub-Reddit, James has somewhat inadvertently spoiled his current Bachelor season due to his public Spotify history, as he listened to and “liked” a playlist curated by contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. Funny enough, this isn’t the first time that a Bachelor-franchise season has been spoiled by the silly technological follies of its leads. Kirkconnell is also white — James has repeatedly stated that he finds it “frustrating” that fans assume he won’t end up with a woman of color. Kaitlyn Bristowe’s infamous screwup in 2015 involved her posting a public Snapchat in bed with her season’s winner, Shawn Booth, several weeks prior to the finale.

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Dakota Johnson Lied to Us About Loving Limes

“She never said she loves to eat limes. “I actually didn’t even know that they were in there,” Johnson told Jimmy. I like them so much, and I like to present them like this in my house,” she actually admitted she doesn’t even like limes. I’m mildly allergic to them … Limes make my tongue itch.” “Well,” you might say, rationalizing to yourself as a Dakota Johnstan. They’re great. In this way, by exposing her own b.s., Johnson actually further upheld her status as a bastion of truth in Hollywood, calling out her own lies as she would Ellen’s. Related

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Tags: That’s not the truth, Dakota. In fact, she told Jimmy, “I’m allergic to limes. I love them. “I was giving the tour and went into the kitchen and it was set dressing.” We love AD home-tour videos and “73 Questions” and nighttime skin routines because we think we want a peek behind the curtain, but Johnson reminded us that these videos are, in and of themselves, just more curtains behind the curtain. How could we have been so blind? She just said she likes to present them like that in her house.” But this is a fallacy as well. So yes, continue to stan. Photo: Architectural Digest/YouTube

The evidence was right there before us all along. But don’t stop sending her limes as offerings. You can’t spell “limes” without “lies.” On January 19, Dakota Johnson revisited her famed 2020 Architectural Digest tour on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and admitted to a terrible betrayal. Despite gesturing to overflowing display bowls chock full o’ limes and saying, “I love limes.

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Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Will Return for Season 2, Andy Cohen Confirms

Season one may not even be over yet, but you can rest assured knowing RHOSLC won’t be going the way of the ill-fated Real Housewives of D.C. Photo: Dan Boczarski/Bravo

Might as well spring on that Brooks Marks tracksuit, because The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City isn’t going anywhere. Keep those fall Wednesday nights open. During January 19’s Watch What Happens Live — a gathering of Bravo authorities and superfans, including Danny Pellegrino, Sasha Morfaw, Evan Ross Katz, and Samantha Bush — Andy Cohen let slip that the newest addition to the Bravo Cinematic Universe would be sticking around for a second season. After Pellegrino said he was excited to see the next season of RHOSLC, if the show does come back, Cohen replied, “Oh, they’re coming back for a season two,” to his guests’ surprise and cheers from the virtual audience. Related

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Call My Agent! Brings a Succession Energy to the Parisian Entertainment Industry

(Actress Camille Cottin, who plays her, is reason enough to watch the show.) There’s Arlette, trailed by her dog Jean Gabin: a raspy-voiced perennial of ASK ready with witty asides and gossip about an older generation of entertainers. The fourth and final season of Call My Agent, which originally premiered in France last year, drops on U.S. The culmination of the show is not one of happily ever after, but its brutalism is also reflective of the industry’s extremist flux, impermanence, and renewal. France’s entertainment industry plays out through the funnel of ASK, a prestigious talent agency, established by Samuel Kerr, a paterfamilias with a wandering eye. Netflix this week. Crazy overrides sexy!)

In a different but deeply disquieting episode, actress Beatrice Dalle (playing herself) refuses to carry out the so-called vision of a viperous director, who wants to retool a morgue scene to be “subtly erotic” (!). (Although: look out for Sigourney Weaver in season four, spry and charismatic as they come.) For viewers unfamiliar with the featured stars, the typologies are still recognizable ones. Tags: Still, the day-to-day reality of being a professional in Paris is, in a sense, the show’s forte. (Of course, it works.) Professional rivalry, light blackmail, and a lot of emotional fluffing are the agent’s toolkit for leverage. She assists Andréa and becomes one of ASK’s diligent underlings, alongside Hervé (the gay guru), Noémie (the self-satisfied kook), and Sofia (the aspirational actress and unfortunate vessel for fielding Black clichés). The movie industry is wildly flawed, and its modern systems of representation need untold amounts of work, but it’s a sphere that viewers and professionals alike are, ultimately, insatiable for. Last and least is slithery, calculating Mathias: a bourgeois family man on the surface but a deadbeat parent to his 20-something daughter Camille, whom he secretly fathered during a dalliance and never disclosed to anyone. Her inability to feign being a jockey is ultimately not at all what costs her the role; even before this lie comes to light, she is rejected for her age (she’s turning 40). He capitulates and suggests a cannibalistic (!) alternative to the story instead. The degrees of self-skewering vary, but how a public figure wields his or her reputation is consistently at the root of the show. The ASK elevator regularly chimes “ouverture des portes” (doors opening) and “fermeture des portes” (doors closing), doubling as a refrain for life in the agency. In fact, the words “caprice” and “capricious” are used repeatedly throughout the series: actors, directors, and scriptwriters are tirelessly fickle and temperamental. “She is not a courtesan or a luxury hen.” But the Cannes organizer responds, bewildered, “Of course we’re still in the 19th century”—and advises compliance to get financing for Binoche’s next film, rather than humiliate “that type of man…. When actress Julie Gayet disappears off a film set and won’t answer her phone, her agent baits her with a fake rendezvous request from Steven Spielberg, warning her she’s up against Diane Kruger for a role. The fourth and final season, which drops this Thursday on U.S. The ASK office, while boasting a tony address adjacent to the Louvre, is ultimately rather unremarkable. don’t test his ability to harm you.” (Binoche ends up solving the problem herself by acting unhinged and ultimately putting the man off enough for him to rescind his coastal invitation. (Is this what world peace looks like?)

At times, Call My Agent’s main takeaway feels like: how is there an entire system in place to enable so much collective lunacy? “This is not the 19th century,” Andréa declares on Juliette’s behalf to a woman overseeing the behind-the-scenes of the Cannes ceremony, whom she wants to run interference. As viewers, we observe the agents working for the stars, who are scrutinized in turn—with admiration, envy, or disapproval—by the French public. Newly arriving in Paris from the south, she tries to re-enter his life and reconnect; when he swats her away, she manages to get a job at his agency, without revealing to anyone that she’s his progeny. Its actual realism is, perhaps, debatable; in an article for 20 Minutes, in which French talent agents were anonymously interviewed, people said the profession was both more boring than how it was depicted and more complicated given the flurry of publicists, stylists, and other mainstays who make up a star’s entourage, who are not really included here. Call My Agent! The series’ very first episode opens with a talent agent pulling up on his scooter to the opulent Westin hotel near Place Vendôme. Call My Agent! There’s a glimpse of Notre Dame as a Camille rushes by it on her Vélib to try to correct a rookie mistake; Andréa accidentally-on-purpose bumps into an actress in the Jardin du Luxembourg to try to get her to change her mind about a role; the Eiffel Tower looms behind Mathias while meeting his rival from a competing agency. When he dies unexpectedly while on vacation in South America (allegedly from swallowing a bee but also maybe while in the company of a prostitute), the four remaining agents scramble to keep the business afloat without its founder. While it’s less “gossipy” when you don’t know the actors playing to—or against—type, there’s always a murmur of the David Marchese-style celebrity interview: a kind of meta-confrontation on how much an actor is overtly aware of, or engaging with, or even manipulating self-perception. Most are unknown outside of France or francophone countries, barring a handful whose star power and acclaim transcends international borders, like Isabelle Huppert or Jean Dujardin. Amongst them is Andréa, a hot-headed ballbuster who throws her phone off the roof in frustration and rips up other people’s photographs; she’s sharp-tongued, mercurial, pushy, impassioned, devoted, and inevitably gets what she wants. Photo: Netflix

What if the masquerade of the entertainment industry was viewed from an altogether different vantage point than Hollywood, for a change? French cinéma is often considered arty or cerebral fare made by weirdo auteurs, yet the system of wheeling and dealing is just as extant in the Parisian entertainment industry as in Los Angeles. Watching and being watched is a power game, and reputations are forged or undone accordingly. Dalle, horrified at the gratuity of using her naked body for titillation in a morgue, categorically refuses to go back to set, but it turns out that her contract’s legal wording is ambiguous enough that the situation swings in the director’s favor. Even Paris, as a metropolitan setting, is mostly scrubbed of glamor. When Dalle and the director’s respective agents craftily broker a meeting between them for a tête-à-tête, the director admits he insisted on Dalle’s full-body nudity because he simply couldn’t figure out how to make the scene interesting. And yet, the confluence of creativity and obsession and delusion provides the foundation of our cultural imagination. Each employee maneuvers in accordance with their own thirsty ambitions, but the team nonetheless maintains their connective tissue, despite ever-escalating feuds. is an antithesis to an Emily in Paris-style view of the city that cranks up the confectionary fantasy to appeal to an audience of foreigners. presents precisely this cutthroat perspective. The city is almost incidental; the foreground is, always, opportunism. Call My Agent!—Dix Pour Cent in French, or ten percent, which is the cut agents receive from their clients— debuted in France in 2015, created by former talent agent Dominique Besnehard and helmed by scriptwriter Fanny Herrero. Andréa likens agents to putti, or cherubic cupids in Italian. The agent metier, per the show, revolves around troubleshooting and endless precarity: finding roles, negotiating contracts, managing outbursts and clashing creative visions, not to mention the logistics of film sets, the fragility of creative self-worth, and a constant readjustment of the bottom line. Brigitte Bardot, while not on the show, is turned into a verb: “bardotter” means to exhibit a prima donna-like behavior. There’s Gabriel, affable but maladroit if not incompetent, prone to huffing whipped cream straight from the can when he screws up. And thusly, right from the top, Call My Agent! Netflix, originally premiered in France last year with a new duo of showrunners (Herrero left last season) and the introduction of an almost preposterously nefarious new character. Even in the day-to-day context, an absurdist streak runs through everything. The television show Call My Agent! She is in fact far out of the city, atop a horse, trying to cram-learn how to ride because she lied about her equestrian abilities in order to be eligible for a Quentin Tarantino film. Basically, every entertainer is a headache. ASK fields calls from fans asking for stars’ addresses to send them perfume; Russian billionaires request actresses as arm candy for a fee when they’re in town; designers reach out to dress stars for splashy funerals. When he arrives, his client, Belgian actress Cécile de France (playing herself), has not materialized for the scheduled photo shoot. In one episode, Andréa tries to buffer Juliette Binoche from a leering powerful mogul who invites her onto his yacht during the Festival de Cannes. also explores the burdens and compromises of collaborative work: between different generations and, more poignantly, between genders. Every episode features an actor or actress playing him or herself. synthesizes and demystifies the profession: its casual overpromising, reckless bluffing, extreme tardiness, ceaseless negotiation, and deep disappointment. In later seasons Hicham, a wealthy narcissist investor who takes over the agency’s management, swaggers in to patch up fiscal problems but drains morale with his bullying tactics. If anything, it’s threaded with a bit of Succession energy, labyrinthine scheming being a narrative constant. Tonally, the show is never wincingly cynical like Ricky Gervais’ Extras, nor is it a Technicolor fairytale like Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood. But by virtue of playing themselves, these actors are studying their reputations doubly, from within and without the confines of the screen.

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Seth Meyers Takes One Last Closer Look at the Trump Presidency

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Seth Meyers Calls for Trump to Be Removed From Office ‘Immediately’

Tags: After four long years of trying to make Trump funny, Seth Meyers said good-bye to the Trump presidency with a final Closer Look. Performing a kind of postmortem on Trump’s time in office, Meyers corrected Trump’s recent farewell message, in which the president claimed that his administration “did what [they] came here to do,” by asking, “What did you come here to do? Wreck the economy, spread disease, and take selfies with cans of beans where you smile like you just ate ice cream with a cavity?” Meyers also gave shoutouts to a few of Trump’s lesser ghouls, including Mitch McConnell, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, whom he compares both to Total Recall’s Kuato and “Jimmy Buffett two weeks after he drowned.” As Steve Bannon jokes go, it’s not a bad one to go out on.

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Trump Pardons Lil Wayne on His Last Day in Office

Carter was found carrying a gold-plated handgun in his luggage on a private plane flight arriving in Florida’s Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport last December; the incident was cited as a parole violation. S. “President Trump and his administration have been tireless advocates on behalf of the African-American community,” Bradford Cohen, a lawyer for Kodak Black said in a statement to Vulture. “These pardons are a perfect example of this administration following up on its reforms and commitments.” Lil Wayne’s defense attorney, Howard Srebnick added, “A pardon for Mr. “He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done,” the rapper tweeted, which fans took as an endorsement of POTUS. While Trump is reportedly still assembling his pardon list (and you never know what that guy will do), Lil Wayne did meet with him publicly in October during the lead-up to the election and tweeted in support of the president’s “Platinum Plan” to help Black Americans. Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage

Update, January 20: Trump did indeed pardon Lil Wayne on his last day in office, along with Kodak Black. Sources

NYTimes

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Tags: Trump also pardoned former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and is expected to grant clemency to Steve Bannon. Constitution.” The firearm, he pointed out in his statement to Vulture, was a gold-plated collector’s piece which was never fired. Both rappers had been prosecuted on federal weapons charges. Lil Wayne. The hearing for Carter’s sentencing is currently scheduled for January 28. Charged in November, the rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty last month to felony gun possession ahead of the holidays. January 18: If you assumed having less than 48 hours left in his presidential term meant Donald Trump was just going to lay low, you’re forgetting that he’s a man who is familiar with sweeps week and, as the former host of NBC’s The Apprentice, knows there’s always more attention to be grabbed. Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known as Lil Wayne, was granted a full pardon, and Bill Kapri, known as Kodak Black, was granted a commutation. Carter is consistent with the views of many jurists—including Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett—that prosecuting a non-violent citizen for merely possessing a firearm violates the Second Amendment to the U. Among the likely candidates? According to the New York Times, the president is preparing to issue “at least 60 pardons or commutations and perhaps more than 100” on his last day in office. The endorsement allegedly cost Lil Wayne his relationship at the time, which seems like something Trump would absolutely factor in when considering who deserves clemency. In statements accompanying the 73 grants of clemency Trump doled out on his final day as president, he cited Lil Wayne’s charitable contributions and Kodak Black’s support from Gucci Mane, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, and more.

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Nurse Lori Marie Key Sings ‘Amazing Grace’ at COVID-19 Memorial

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said at the start of the ceremony. A national memorial ceremony was held to honor the 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, represented by 400 lights illuminated around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. “But when I’m at work, I sing. It gives me strength during difficult times and I believe it helps heal.”

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Tags: Prior to tomorrow’s inauguration day festivities, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris attended a much more somber ceremony on Tuesday night at the Lincoln Memorial. The archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, delivered the invocation, and gospel singer Yolanda Adams performed “Hallelujah.” Harris also delivered brief remarks, calling the ceremony a chance to “begin healing together.” She then introduced Michigan nurse Lori Marie Key, who performed “Amazing Grace.” “Working as a COVID nurse was heartbreaking,” Key said.

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No One Was Safe from Phil Spector

(He might have noticed as well that Berry Gordy’s Motown operation wasn’t bothered at all by the Beatles.) He’d spent some time in England with the Rolling Stones — Spector would later play guitar on “Play With Fire” — as well. For example, at a time when he was a bona fide celebrity and a millionaire — back when that meant something — he understandably chose to go to a high-school reunion. (His voice was in a Stan Freberg or “I’m depraved on account I’m deprived!” vein.) He obsessed about his looks, particularly his hair. Bedell?’ … Then, after it was a hit, he walks in and it’s ‘Hey, Lew, baby, we’re doin’ good.’ He starts calling Herb ‘Hey, you.’ You never saw such a complete change.”

Spector had his by-most-accounts unstable sister along as some sort of quasi manager; she alienated the other Teddy Bears thoroughly. One evening, Spector finally succeeded in getting Leiber (the lyricist of the pair) alone, and the two began to work on a melody Spector had. Only one drink.”

The driver testified later he’d heard a shot; some time later, Spector came out, dazed, telling the driver, “I think I killed someone.” He was holding a gun, and had Clarkson’s blood on his hands. With $40 from his bandmates, he took them to the Gold Star Studios, where they recorded a song called “Don’t You Worry My Little Pet.” He parlayed that into an agreement with a local record company to record a few more songs. A few knew that the words “To Know Him Was to Love Him” came from a tombstone — his father’s tombstone, in fact. She found him out cold, on a lounge seat at the same gate. A female songwriter friend recalled Spector from these years for Mick Brown: “He would comb his hair and be so nervous and worried, and talk about how attractive this friend was and how handsome that one was, and this friend got on the football team when he was in high school, and he was jealous because he didn’t get this girl or that girl. (He listed the time as 3:05 on the label.) From a later perspective we can see that the Righteous Brothers hits were a lucky replacement for his girl-group operation, and his four final hits as well — the last dwindling accomplishments of his classic period. Spector’s last few years as a free man were bleak. The family moved out of Beverly Hills to a more remote but still elaborate expanse in Pasadena. Spector had the dubious distinction of taking it further than anyone else — to sticking a gun into the face of a defenseless Lana Clarkson and pulling the trigger. To the finer ears in the industry, the Spector singles sometimes plainly sounded distorted (and masters would sometimes need to be sent back because the sound bounced the needles off the acetates). [Michelle Phillips said:] “They came into the living room and Phil was standing there with the gun. Other incidents suggest anger and resentment. Spector almost always added his name to the credits with the songwriting teams he worked with — indeed, his name often came first. He was finally convicted in April 2009, and sentenced the next month to 15 years to life for the murder and an additional four years for the use of the gun. (“If it starts sounding good, stop.”) Spector would then take the track and use that, and credit himself as the writer, instead of an actual song by a songwriter, as the B-side to the single, earning him another full songwriting royalty for the single. Once he got established, the songs on the B-side disappeared, replaced by instrumentals. According to Greenwich, each arrived at the writing sessions with a different part: Greenwich provided the melody of the verse; Spector provided the melody of the chorus; and Barry most of the words. There’s a reason for everything, and with Phil the reason he’s the way he is is all to do with his immediate family.” Mark Ribowsky’s 1984 biography of Spector, He’s a Rebel, begins with an epigraph from Oedipus Rex. he had everything he needed except the actual Crystals, so he recorded the song with a local group called the Blossoms, with a lead singer named Darlene Wright, and called them the Crystals. The group was then left to return to obscurity, while the production teams moved onto the next formula and the next group.” Spector worked initially with a New York female trio called the Crystals, and oversaw two quick hits for them: “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)” and “Uptown,” a Mann-Weil song with a novel, if slightly condescending, lyric from the point of view of a woman who watches her presumably Black boyfriend living in the different worlds of downtown (where he’s a “little man”) and uptown (“where he can hold his head up high”). I thought that was nasty!” she writes. Cher was living with David Geffen, by that time a mogul himself on a level far outstripping Spector. Mick Brown paints the period this way: “Those close to Spector noticed a pattern. He had been friends with Lenny Bruce — perhaps Bruce’s last friend — and was profoundly affected by the comedian’s decline and ultimate death, in 1966. Why his father committed suicide is unknown. One was Spector’s growth and success as a producer. His first marriage was to an early L.A. 1 hit, a spot it held for three weeks. Much later, Sonny Bono, who had worked for Spector at the time, would tell biographer Ribowsky what really happened the day Spector had the plane turn around:

Bono recalled: “As the plane had taxied to get in position for takeoff, Phil freaked out. At the time, however, it seemed to be merely a continuation of Spector’s golden touch. Spector, put the gun down.’ So he rather reluctantly put the gun down. Ironically, the single did quite well in England, going almost to No. (That’s a bit less than what a single midlevel Motown act might have accomplished.) And there are very few hidden gems in the few albums Spector put out. When they got to his house, the driver later testified, Clarkson said, “This won’t be long. He was estranged from his adopted kids; the brothers left home after high school and rarely interacted with their father. Geffen would feature in rants throughout Spector’s life. He adopted a brace of bodyguards, used not for his protection but muscle. “Phil seemed to thrive on destroying his opponent, even if it was his wife,” she reflected. His first distinctive touch was collecting that mass of instruments: guitarists, drummers, keyboardists and percussion players to start, and then sometimes strings and woodwinds in the mix as well. He instinctively knew how to brand his own name onto his work; he became the star, not the actual artists. “In those days you could make five albums for $20,000. Wolfe couldn’t be bothered to talk to any of the collaborators Spector had alienated during his New York sojourn, take the subway to the Bronx and look into Spector’s family history, or notice the deleterious effect the Beatles had had on his girl-group success. This effect was heightened by another Spector trick, which was to allow the backing vocals in the chorus to hit with their own unmistakable drama, giving them an unstoppable, implacable momentum of their own. It apparently eventually sold 1.4 million copies. What is this big lonesome? And they said, ‘Mr. Donte, the first child Ronnie Spector and he had adopted, had showed up at a local police station in West Los Angeles in 1980 and said he was being mistreated; he went to live in New York with his mother, but then came back to L.A., and ended up living with Spector’s mother. And they said, ‘Is anybody here being held against their will?’ And Ann and I put up our hands. He kept looking at himself in a mirror and combing his hair with a brush. I think I said something out loud, even though I was the only one in the car. The Beatles’ manager, Allen Klein, from whom McCartney was estranged, offered the job of cleaning up the Get Back sessions for release to Spector. After the Ramones, there was a break in the life of Phil Spector. Male friends would see a constant stream of bickering and even rococo incidents in which his mother might end up chasing the fleeing teenage boy through the house with a knife. 1 on the national pop charts. It was in fact formally called the Pyrenees Castle, high on a hill in the otherwise nondescript town of Alhambra, ten miles due east of downtown Los Angeles and much farther away physically and emotionally from the heart and soul of the industry where he had made his name and fortune. Many of those he worked with recall him as a man of unending energy, zany humor, and enthusiasm, able to keep a large corps of session musicians engaged while putting them through the grueling processes that undergirded his productions. So they came back to the gate, which is against all regulations, threw him off, and banned him from flyin’ American Airlines ever again. They are all considered part of the Brill Building song factory, though technically they worked down Broadway in another music-business building. His behavior with her quickly became domineering and stalker-y; he kept her close by and silent in the studio so she couldn’t talk to other musicians; he interfered with her in conversations with others and once tracked her down at a club and dragged her off the dance floor. “I would say Hitlerian, the atmosphere was one of guns,” Leonard Cohen, who shared a manager with Spector, later said. (The vocals could be recorded separately.) Stereo was available, even in the early ’60s, but all pop material was mixed back down to mono — a single track. Fewer understood that his father’s death came far too early, when his son, then Harvey Spector of the Bronx, was just 9 years old, and that it came from the father’s own hand, leaving a broken and dysfunctional family behind. Working with engineers Larry Levine and arranger Jack Nitzsche, he would work out of the tiny space and create more than a dozen top-40 hits. At that point in the recording industry, songs were generally recorded in a matter of minutes, whole albums in a matter of hours. But the piece cemented an image of mysterious genius at the heart of Spector’s image and would be forever connected to his story; indeed, when Spector released a box CD set of his work in the 1980s, the article is reprinted as the centerpiece of the accompanying booklet. Over the years one or another of these heavies would turn into his chief friend, fixer, majordomo, and amanuensis — and ultimately de facto nanny for his children. At the same time, he was experimenting with music with a trio of high-school friends: Marshall Leib, Harvey Goldstein, and Annette Kleinbard. Within a few years, Phil Spector was a cultural icon, a flamboyant impresario with an impressive string of hit singles, each one a maelstrom of emotion sung by a woman. The first of these came in 1964, when Beatlemania hit America. The home had eight bedrooms and presented itself in a foreboding way at the top of the spacious grounds. (And just to be clear, this is gravy money on top of what came in from the actual record sales to his company.)

Spector did produce hits; but some writing on Spector overstates his chart success. He was free to travel to New York. As the pop industry grew and evolved, the same players would be gathered in various formations to play on countless other hits by many other hits over the next decade and beyond. But as fate would have it he had just happened upon an act called the Righteous Brothers, singers Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley; Spector fixated on them and spent significant money to borrow them from their label. session guitarist, Barney Kessel. Phil Spector was 21. (“The tunes are shallow and derivative,” wrote Rolling Stone, “and the words little more than sloppy nursery rhymes.”)

Spector also produced George Harrison’s epic and great-sounding All Things Must Pass album, Harrison’s own artistic high point, though Harrison discovered that it would take Spector some number of hours, and a large number of cherry brandies, before he would get to work each night. The control room was filled with Brian Wilson, Chris Isaak, Penny Marshall, Ike Turner, Rodney Bingenheimer, and — of course, and why not — Kato Kaelin. The Beatles had destroyed his girl-group fortunes in 1964, but in 1969 they came, unwittingly, to his rescue in another stroke of Spectorian good luck. By this time Spector had met Veronica Bennett, the dynamic leader of a trio of women singers called the Ronettes. During this work, Spector established a relationship with John Lennon and George Harrison. Many years later, McCartney masterminded the release of Let It Be … Naked without Spector’s enhancements. It was indeed a big fuck you to the person whose connections had made Spector’s career. Because he knew, the A-side and the B-side both got equal publishing royalties, no matter that everyone who bought the thing was interested only in the side with the hit. The piece began with Spector freaking out on an airplane taxiing for takeoff and demanding that it be turned around so he could be let off. Along this journey he had started to display some of the turbulent behavior that would eventually lead to Lana Clarkson’s killing. None of Spector’s famous songs were particularly feminist in nature. Spector would go on to produce the stark Plastic Ono Band, and then Imagine, a big hit on the album charts, on the strength of the title single, which again went to No. It was the year of “Paint It Black” and “Eight Miles High,” Pet Sounds and Revolver. Spector decided he would construct the rock song of all rock songs, to be sung by her. As they rehearsed, however, she came to understand the respect Spector had for her voice. They are a dim part of the cultural landscape now; at the time, they created a new center of gravity for the world of pop. What are you doing here? Two months later, in December of 1958, “To Know Him Is to Love Him” became a No. It’s too big, too cold, too lonesome. ‘I’ve never heard anybody being able to maintain yelling at somebody for ten minutes straight, but he could do that. Because I would never want to be here. In the piece, a 6,000-word feature done up with wan attempts at classic Esquire style, Clarkson is treated with palpable contempt:

Her name was Lana Clarkson, and she was a chronically aspiring buxom blond B-movie actress/model/comedienne/hostess — a type always common in Hollywood and not unknown at the castle. In L.A. To some he looked like Don Knotts; to others, Jiminy Cricket. The family fought with a blistering toxicity. (“Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats.”) For three songs — “I Me Mine,” “Across the Universe,” and, most notoriously, Paul McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” — Spector brought in a huge orchestral contingent, including nearly two dozen violins and violas, at an enormous cost. In the U.K. When you see Phil screaming with bulging red eyes, it’s like seeing Satan.’”

Showing up for an interview with the BBC “in a quasi military uniform, carrying a gun and sporting a straw hat … nearly killing himself in a car accident on the Sunset Strip … showing up to recording sessions with a case of Manischewitz wine to be drunk through a straw — ‘his skin would stink from the smell of it,’ someone said — and then scaling up to amyl nitrate … talking of his plans to have a movie made of his life — in three parts, to be directed respectively by Dennis Hopper, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese … causing a scene in Elaine’s, in New York, and getting punched out by Steve Dunleavy … pulling a gun on a parking-lot attendant after he stepped in to an altercation between Spector and a woman” … and on and on. The song made it almost to the top ten. He also hid the fact that he had had twins with her, in 1981. Show; in it, he conducted an orchestra and played a piano while Joan Baez essayed a laborious run-through of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” In the resulting film, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue stole the show. It was like somebody who feels so insecure and frightened inside. 39 at the time — have become pop classics.)

Along the way, he kept working on his public image. Bennett was his next big relationship. He eventually met Kessel, who became Spector’s in into the world of elite L.A. While some of Ronnie Spector’s friends also suspected that her marriage to Spector was one of convenience, she certainly got the worst of it; her autobiography is a pretty unpleasant picture. 2 hit. (Among other things, they’d worked with Duane Eddy, in Arizona, on early influential rock and roll hits like “Rumble.”) He essayed some followup singles, including an instrumental credited to Phil Harvey, and then in a group he called the Spectors Three, but they didn’t go anywhere. She found herself married to a jealous and paranoid man who kept control of their money and the household staff. The event is portrayed a little bit more favorably toward the subject than the hysterical outburst warranted. There were nearly two dozen musicians in the tiny, sweltering studio; the production went on and on. Second-tier tracks by even the Ronettes — like “Paradise” — are interesting but not essential. Instead Spector recorded a single — titled “Screw You” — and made only one copy. It’s not clear if his mother and father were actually related; Spector once said they were first cousins, but that was in a conversation late in his life, when he would rattle on for hours saying all sorts of true things and not-so-true things. That’s why you’ll see goofy Spector B-side titles like “Flip and Nitty” or even “Dr. The top-tier session players he worked with said he could have had a career as a professional jazz guitarist. 1 song was minimal. girlfriend, Annette Mehar. It is in this context that a key moment in his life transpired, and one of the most heavily mythologized moments in the early history of rock and roll: the single that drove Phil Spector out of the music business. Spector’s would have been four times as much, or $65,000 — ten times the median full-time wage in the U.S. Outside of his other spectacular talents, Spector seems to have had innate precocity when it came to figuring out how a record got made — not exactly a typical skill of teenagers at the time. They would just attack each other all the time. Soon, Spector had insinuated himself into their mix, carousing around Manhattan with the high-living Ertegun and other up-and-comers in the music biz. In January 1965 Spector was rewarded with a profile, “The First Tycoon of Teen,” by Tom Wolfe, in the New York Herald Tribune, a highly prestigious paper (the progenitor of New York), and one that let people like Wolfe write in a highly impressionistic form. What happened to Lana Clarkson very late on the night of February 2, 2003, could have been prevented. HIs death ends a bizarre story of genius and mental illness. Those drums were so huge the way that Phil Spector did them. Over the years friends had watched him initiate altercations in public spaces; now Spector had helpers to get him out of trouble. in 1998, he found a house worthy of his psyche — a veritable castle. The four began harmonizing together, with Spector instinctively taking charge. “Benedict Arnold was right,” he wrote — and disappeared. It was widely accepted among Spector’s acquaintances that the death of his son left him bereft. “It’s blessed.” Phil, the medal dangling down on his thighs during the flight, prayed to a Christian God all the way to New York.”

Throughout his early life friends had seen him spend endless time fussing with his disappearing hair and fretting about his height. The 25-year-old Spector took out an ad in the trade papers, offering an indigestible flailing attack at the U.S. 2, kept out of the top spot by, of all things, “Sugar Shack,” by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. 3 on the pop charts. She looked askance at his odd hair, ostentatious clothes, unhealthy complexion and weird behavior. They were living in New York at the time and had discussed getting married in L.A. He doted on the kids, within certain Spectorian parameters: “No Disneyland, no beach.”

In later years he acknowledged that during this time he was under care for manic depression, if not full-blown schizophrenia. Over it, he took songs by some of the nation’s best songwriters and married them to the yearning, indelible voices of young singers. “And then he would say, ‘Daddy killed himself because of you.’ Your mother tells you this, you attack back with that. Phil didn’t record with her again for three years; his one effort with her, “You Came, You Saw, You Conquered,” was a flop and is forgotten today. The trial started in 2007. Dick Clark showcased it on American Bandstand, and then extended an invitation for the band to appear. In 1989 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where he would serve on the nominating committee as well. His ruthless business practices sometimes edged into outright cruelty: After “She’s a Rebel,” he made life miserable for Sill to the point where Spector could buy him out of Philles inexpensively, then never paid him. He wrote “Fuck You” on all of Ronnie’s alimony checks. It was called The Big T.N.T. The company severed ties with him when they found he’d taken the group for his own production plans, even taking legal control of the name. Spector promised to help fund Hopper’s The Last Movie — until he didn’t, and Hopper sued him. ‘Phil could out-scream anybody I knew,’ [said one friend]. All of this took time, which itself was another Spector innovation. His relationships with women from the start were off. For the B-side of “Pet” they sang another Spector tune and arrangement. He would stop a recording session if a singer was off pitch. From the start, he was a fabulist, a megalomaniac; he told his friends tall stories; he sometimes stalked his girlfriends, and treated professional collaborators with contempt. She went to work as a seamstress. Even before it was recorded, the effect was an awkward fit; two quite separate songs that seemed to have been plucked from opposite corners of the room and forced to dance together. He also badgered Leiber and Stoller to let him write with them; the pair appreciated his talents but found his mannerisms and egotism off-putting. Spector, we have warned you about this over and over again …’”

Spector as the jury convicted him of murder, April 13, 2009. Spector had a fun and ingratiating side, when he chose to turn it on. (Harrison, certainly, would do much worse.)

Back home, Spector got himself remunerative production deals with first A&M, and then Warner Brothers. Of his classic tracks, only “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” perhaps — piffle taken from the soundtrack to the racist Disney film Song of the South — is an inferior song that Spector turned into a hit by reputation. “Spector’s real greatness is his ability to induce those incredible little moments of poignant longing in us,” Leonard Cohen once reflected. This scheme eventually blew up in his face. Stripped down to its essentials, it was also a story we know too well: the tale of the celebrity who uses his fame and money to get away with appalling behavior for far too many years. Spector dreamed of creating a sound that would alone carry his records to the heavens, but in fact he was dependent on strong songs to soar. When Spector did work, there was the feel of a Fellini cast party, as when he was hired to produce a session for Celine Dion. I played the beginning ten times until everyone in the room told me to stop, and then I played it ten more times.” The sounds on Spector records would spur Wilson to great creativity on Beach Boys works like “Good Vibrations” and the album Pet Sounds, and would in turn spur the competitiveness and creativity of the Beatles. Spector, exercised, told police that the shooting had been an accident. Spector’s antics with guns had gone on for decades. In a Spector recording, the artists themselves were disposable, but their voices were not. There were guns everywhere.”

Spector had a reunion lunch one day with Annette Kleinbard, the main voice on “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” who by that time had changed her name to Carol Connors. One of his weirder projects was a Christmas album. 1 singles in the U.S., ending the band’s career at a peak. Turner herself felt the record was too Black for white radio and too white for Black radio. He went quiet, doing little for ten years. 1. Throughout all of this, Spector was also demonstrating that he could show New York a thing or two about the hustle. Lennon was taken with the producer, those who were there said, and treated Spector like royalty. This dovetailed conveniently with a key Spector defense, that Clarkson was a has-been or failed actress; this was to make the case that she had decided to commit suicide in Spector’s foyer. They slipped into a toxic and increasingly embittered and contentious lifestyle. Spector was awkward and indrawn as a child — “a birdy guy, a twerp,” as a high-school friend described him; friends knew that highly volatile relationships with his mother and sister contributed to the darker side of his personality. Pomus and his partner, Mort Shuman, worked for the powerful publishing operation Hill & Range, which handled Elvis Presley’s songwriters. musicians. Lew Bedell and Herb Newman, the partners of the label who had helped Spector make his record, discovered they’d created a monster:

“The kid became so haughty,” Bedell said. “Be My Baby” — “one of the greatest songs ever recorded,” according to Keith Richards — spent three weeks at No. Along the way he produced an album for her. She sank into a debilitating alcoholism. Ultimately, she found out that Spector was carrying on an affair with Ronnie Bennett, and she was dispatched with $100,000. The very least that could be said was that he hadn’t negatively affected the band’s career, and the case could be made that he had some hand in ushering the band out of the 1960s on a commercial high note and took Lennon and Harrison, at least, into ’70s commercial and artistic respectability. This affliction, particularly, would help turn the 1970s into a curious maelstrom of success and decay. Ronnie was monitored by Phil’s staff and later claimed that she was sometimes not permitted to leave the mansion. His mother insisted on calling him Harvey. He went to his induction ceremony drunk, and embarrassed himself at his acceptance speech. Goldstein, who had chipped in for the initial recording and had named the group, couldn’t be in the studio the day “To Know Him” was recorded because of a stint in the Army Reserve. The Beatles had recorded an album called Get Back, but it had not been released amid the then-bitter acrimony amongst the band members. They would play for Spector and then, as word of his productions got around, for people like Brian Wilson, who would adopt the studio and the players as his own and create the Beach Boys’ most sprawling works there. Goldstein got a lawyer and ended up getting royalties. He played French horn in the school band, and at some point had the epiphany so many notable musicians of his era had when he started connecting with some of the new mysterious sounds coming out of the radio. His death was reported by California prison authorities today. What Spector did get from Sill was entrée to some top music-makers in New York. But everyone could see he had a remarkable ability to look dispassionately at any song three ways and improve it, and that he had a remarkable feel for the intricacies and ineffabilities of recording. (One of his tricks: taking the cymbals away from the drummers.) Part of Spector’s strategy was to keep the virtuoso players he had assembled focused on uniform simple chords and playing them in unison. He would invite potential biographers over and then keep them up until the wee hours, spinning pathetic fables of things he most certainly hadn’t done (like having been part of the student unrest in Paris in 1968). The Teddy Bears didn’t have another hit. His production often overwhelms slighter songs. At one point, he bragged to a friend he was working full-time at three different companies — for Atlantic Records, for Don Kirshner, and for Hill & Range as well. “Phil Spector had the ability to capture innocence,” said an arranger in New York, Artie Butler, “even when he had 40 guys pounding and scratchin’ and blowin’ their brains out.”

And Spector finally had the control he wanted. Robowsky, in He’s a Rebel, talks to all of the principals of the song’s creation, and each has a sour tale to tell. He’d get one of his assistants to go into the studio and craft an aimless tune. And yet the darkness was always there to those who looked. He began to play guitar, specifically jazz guitar; his enthusiasm was such that he wrote to Downbeat magazine to defend the work of a local L.A. And there was little Phillip — my God, he looked so lost. With the family in tatters, his mother eventually moved young Harvey and his sister, Sharon, to Los Angeles. He drifted and became a street prostitute; after Spector’s arrest, Donte said he’d been held captive as a child, had been threatened with his father’s guns, and forced to participate in sex acts by his father. I mean, do you like this? When Lennon tried to get some of his session tapes back, a messenger sent to pick up the tapes at Spector’s office was greeted by the producer himself — wielding an axe. At the same time, he was a true musician. (“My sister’s in an asylum, and she’s the sane one in the family.”) Doc Pomus, the writer of “Save the Last Dance for Me” and many other hits, who became a close friend, recalled, “Phil [would] pace the floor up and down. Then came days of preparation. He’d come back from New York with a perfect Crystals follow-up single, “He’s a Rebel,” written by Gene Pitney. He discovered, for example, that his income from having written, produced, and performed even a No. Lennon came back to Spector a few years later, for what was supposed to be a covers album of rock and roll classics and which would eventually duly be released under the name Rock ‘n’ Roll. For unknown reasons, he and Zavalos split up; shortly afterward, one of their children, 9-year-old Phillip Spector Jr., died from leukemia. He unquestionably worked with the songwriters on many of his hits, but this practice remains in itself somewhat dubious; it’s part of the producer’s job to shape the songs. Spector drove the band to distraction during the recording, at one point keeping them at gunpoint at his home — and then disappeared with the band’s tapes for six months. They hated him, and I think they fired the pilot for bringin’ the plane back.”Unable to pull himself out of bed, Sonny sent Cher to the airport to get Phil onto another flight on a different airline. Some biographies say that Ronnie adopted a baby boy, Donte, on her own, but it’s not clear if that was actually the case or whether the couple had done the adoption together; a few months later, she found that Phil had adopted two boys on his own. Ironically, Spector was absorbing his own lessons about the music business. And then Spector, oddly, skipped town before the project was through, sending Harrison detailed missives from L.A. — and that was it. His preparation of the album that would be released under the name Let It Be involved track selection, sequencing, and to some extent re-envisioning the songs on the tapes he was given by Klein. Spector was allowed out on bail. Spector’s women were recorded with a power unmatched at the time; the emotions that burst out of the record were correspondingly earthshaking. He knew how to procure the songs, manipulate the production knobs, work the distribution and production channels, and even game the publishing system.The artists were almost disposable. They said, ‘Would you two come with us, please.’ And then they turned to him and they said, ‘Mr. No matter: The era of the girl group came to an abrupt end in April 1964, when the Beatles stacked the top five songs on the Billboard charts. Sentenced to 19 years to life, Spector spent the rest of his days in prison. This was during Lennon’s so-called “Lost Weekend” period, when he spent 18 months carousing in Los Angeles while he was separated from Ono. And I remember thinking, Well, he is short, he doesn’t have big bulging muscles or anything, but he’s witty and funny and he has a lot to offer. Behind the scenes he was maneuvering in halting ways to produce an actual rock act — the Rascals, the Lovin’ Spoonful — but never landed one. The wedding night ended in tears — and then Spector flew off to L.A. Initial plays to industry insiders got a great response. restaurant, whom he had lured back to his castle-like mansion in an obscure suburb in the early hours of the night. But innovative record men like Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, of Atlantic Records, were bringing a new sophistication to pop with acts like Ruth Brown, the Coasters, and the Drifters. Phil Spector and Lester Sill christened their label Philles — i.e., “Phil” plus “Les,” not “Phillies.” This was the formal beginning of the Phil Spector era. 2 in the top 40 — but also the agitprop unpleasantness of Lennon’s Some Time in New York City, the hitless Yoko Ono collaboration that was the nadir of the star’s solo career. wunderkind in an obscure Fairfax studio — and went to No. ”

He also grew familiar with a lineup of young and talented songwriters who were creating sophisticated, catchy melodies and urgent lyrics that attempted to capture the quotidian thoughts of kids. He was screaming, I’m not flyin’ on this plane! Spector loved Christmas songs, no matter his Jewish heritage, and identified with Irving Berlin, who had written “White Christmas,” the biggest Christmas song of all time. Spector at the boards, circa 1970. When the song became a hit, the original Crystals were on tour — and didn’t know the song to play it for expectant audiences. But now friendship had given way to estrangement. A long Esquire article by Scott Rabb chronicled a night of partying there with David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and others. Writes Ribowsky: “No other major record in pop-music history was resisted for as many different reasons as ‘River Deep — Mountain High’ was.”

The producer was by all accounts devastated; in a fit of pique he canceled the release of an accompanying album, probably missing an opportunity to let work stand up against the other visionary album productions of the day. Spector even had a chance to produce Cher, by that time a solo star with a number of hit singles to her name, leading to another misfire. He became fixated on Tina Turner, probably the most dynamic singer in the music at the time. The company was called Aldon, and was co-owned by Don Kirshner, who oversaw a lucrative publishing empire. In early 1991, Spector’s songwriting friend Doc Pomus died. He had apparently contracted COVID in prison and had been contending with it for the past month. She died of a gunshot to her head, and though she hasn’t yet become a corpus delicti — whatever happened, it happened on February 3, and nobody’s been charged with any crime at all, not yet — she did wind up dead, which is one heck of a kicker to the Phil Spector story, which wasn’t exactly lacking Gothic before that. He slowed down “Across the Universe,” and extended the length of “I Me Mine” and “Let It Be”; most Beatles fans don’t know it was he who spent a day at Abbey Road listening to the band’s studio chatter and distributing the (dubiously charming) bits of spoken words that mark the album. While it was here that Spector put himself on his road to fame, his early teen years were difficult. Leib, who was Spector’s best friend and protector in high school, says Spector promised him shared royalties for his contributions to “To Know Him.” Those never came. It just knocked me out. Coming back to L.A. They took his credit cards and took down all his identification, everything. A young David Geffen came into Spector’s orbit at the time. Drums, particularly, were his passion, and he worked doggedly to capture a sound that could burst out of the radio and buttress his songs. Is this just a thing about you’re strong and you’re powerful and you can live in a big frigging castle? And this was just a single — one side of a single.“ Turner said Spector made her sing the song “500,000 times” at a session that stretched all night, with just her, Spector, and engineer Larry Levine in the studio: “Pretty soon, I was drenched with sweat. This went on and on and it was like a comedy act. Spector discovered a makeshift echo room at Gold Star, a small space with concrete walls; he could route the sound into it, and then mic the sound back to the recording board. The players marveled as he would blend a piano and a harpsichord sound, for example, together until the instruments were indistinguishable. (“A man of prodigious jealousy,” Keith Richards put it, admitting he’d been in love with Bennett at the time, and that later he’d have an affair with her.) After various feints to get around Bennett’s mother, who would have no part of anything but a real marriage, Spector finally got married to Bennett; her mother was there, but not the other Ronettes. “Be My Baby” was perhaps Spector’s most profound melding of a voice and a production. The Beatles were of course fans of Spector’s work — he met them on his first trip to the U.K., and finagled a trip back with them on the plane when they first touched down in the U.S. Their marriage lasted until 1975; during the divorce proceedings, in response to charges that Ronnie had been drinking, her lawyer replied that it was to “shut out the continuous stream of shrieking by the respondent.” The divorce was granted, but Phil kept custody of the children, who would be cared for through childhood by various bodyguards. The piece was a valuable piece of positive PR for the producer as he created courtroom chaos and managed to delay the trial for years by causing scenes and firing lawyers. Strolling through the scene as a pop preeminence, dressed now like a gangster, now like a psychedelic leprechaun, Spector was memorably profiled by Tom Wolfe as “The First Tycoon of Teen,” and hung out with friends like Lenny Bruce, Dennis Hopper, and John Lennon. The child was the same age Spector had been when his father died. According to Mick Brown, the composition was not smooth:

In the heyday of their collaboration, all three writers would sit around the piano, swapping ideas and themes. If you wanted to create an impression on visitors — and Phil Spector was very much that person — you could force them to be dropped out at the foot of a steep set of stairs they would have to scale to get to the front door, even if it were raining. Spector had built his career on those groups; he might have ended up as pop roadkill as well. Ertegun and Pomus aside, Spector eventually succeeded in alienating most of his contacts in the city, from collaborators he reneged on, mentors he double-crossed, and even office staff he treated with disrespect. A few producing gigs for A&M records went nowhere. at the time. The gun incidents with Lennon weren’t unusual. The sessions were thrown out of A&M’s studio after Spector brandished a gun; in the second, he did it again—and the gun went off. “He would pick up an apple core from an ashtray and eat it. “Bertha would say, ‘Your father killed himself because you were a bad child,’” a friend from high school is quoted in Mick Brown’s definitive biography, Tearing Down the Wall of Sound. “Before the song was a hit, Phil used to come in and say ‘Anything doing today, Mr. The Crystals hit again with “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” which has a unique chaotic sound in the production, and then the irresistible and rumbling “Da Doo Ron Ron,” Spector’s most unbridled cacophony yet, which went to No. “As soon as we were married everything started going to hell.” The marriage lasted a year. Mick Brown has this story of events at his Beverly Hills home, from Michelle Phillips, of the Mamas & the Papas:

“At length, two officers from the Bel Air police arrived at the house, alerted by Phillips’s friend. Six women testified to visits to Spector’s house that ended with his refusing to let them leave at the point of a gun. The hits came in an 18-month flurry. Spector was suddenly a dad and something like a partner. In the studio, a struggling Spector took out his insecurities on Geffen, at one point punching him. Christopher medal she wore on a chain around her neck. In the end, few usable tracks were left. Others saw that Spector’s insular infatuation with his own production schema, his grandiosity, his arrogance toward many in the industry — these issues had all come home to roost. Those close to Spector point to the traumatic disappearance of his father as evidence that one of the triggers of his mental condition was death. For Hill & Range, for example, he was supposed to be auditioning potential groups for the company; that’s where he found the Crystals. The work to create the sound of each of the producer’s classic tracks was painstaking, sometimes taking Spector down long paths leading to sonic dead ends he had to thereupon retreat from. The album, titled, pompously, A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, was recorded in the summer of 1963 and featured 11 traditional Christmas songs, done Wall of Sound–style, and one powerful original, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” credited to Love as a solo performer. “Phil, put it on,” she told him. Kaplan’s Office.” (There’s an album of these tunes available on streaming services, credited to the Phil Spector Orchestra.)

So if “Be My Baby” sold (let’s say) a million copies, and if the royalty rate at the time was five cents per song per record sold, Mann and Weil’s official royalties might be $17,000 each for composing the song that actually generated the sales, which they would then split with Don Kirshner, whom they worked for. Back in L.A., he rented a mansion in Beverly Hills just above the Sunset Strip. Aside from a single she did with George Harrison during the time of Phil’s associations with the Beatles, he did little to help her find other opportunities in the industry. But the world was different in 1966. “I mean, that’s what was really going on, guns. The events that led to the death of Clarkson in 2003 perhaps started that year. Once he showed up at Don Kirshner’s office with his bodyguards — and without warning told one of them to do a feint kick just an inch from Kirshner’s face. I tried to figure out how all the instruments were working.”

Later he recalled being at a party at the home of Three Dog Night’s Danny Hutton. Spector went out of his way to deride and humiliate the young and ambitious Geffen, who would nonetheless channel some of Spector’s ruthlessness as he mounted his own career. The resulting song, “Spanish Harlem,” would go on to be a top-ten hit for Ben E. And Spector, of course, owned his own publishing company. Sidelining Ike Turner as producer as part of the deal with a sizable payment (though Ike’s name would stay on the record), Spector worked with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry for a song that could fulfill this mission. Toward the end of the 1960s he had started drinking. Instead, Paul McCartney put the band through its paces for Abbey Road. He was a very nervous kid, but he started getting friendly and after a while you got the feeling by what he said about music that there was a raw talent there.”

This was still the formative days of the music; there were no Beatles, Stones, or Motown. — but then Spector insisted it had to be done in New York instead of Los Angeles, with little notice and no time for Annette’s family and friends to travel there. Phil Spector’s parents were both from the families of Ukrainian immigrants; oddly, both sides of his family had an Ukrainian name that transliterated to Spector when they came to the U.S. (“If I owned both hell and Pasadena, I’d sell Pasadena and live in hell.”) He apparently lived for the next few years in New York. Her handbag was over her shoulder, suggesting that she was preparing to leave or had never taken it off in the first place. He was already creating a new label for himself and his friend Lester Sill in L.A. The wedding day ended with a bruising fight in his mansion with him accusing her of just wanting his money. He pulled a gun on her, much to Kleinbard’s horror. Spector made a somewhat bizarre appearance in a rock and roll concert film for which he was a co-producer. “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” by the Teddy Bears, was recorded when he was a 19-year-old L.A. “Who knows what this record cost — maybe 20 grand,” said Bob Krasnow, who ran the Turners’ label at the time. A song like “Be My Baby” penetrated the culture in other ways, as artists like Brian Wilson would testify:

“I was driving down the street listening to the radio and the DJ came on and announced a new song [recalled Wilson in his autobiography]. But he took his bodyguards, who stood at his table and didn’t let anyone come close to talk to him. And then for almost 30 years, he largely disappeared from public view, only to reappear, horrifyingly, as the murderer of an actress who was working as a hostess at an L.A. “In Danny’s house that day,” he wrote, “when I put ‘Be My Baby’ on the record player, I couldn’t stop listening to the intro. I had to take off my shirt and stand there in my bra to sing, that’s how hard I was working on that song.”

The result was “River Deep — Mountain High,” a decent song with a production over-the-top even by Spector standards; Turner’s performance is certainly dramatic as well, and holds its own. He had a vast knowledge and affection for R&B by Black artists. After claiming she was spending too much money, Spector divorced her from jail. The other parallel story is about the recurring symptoms of a man uneasy in his skin and with a tendency to paranoia and megalomania. Eventually, the mix between the drunken, unfocused star and the conniving, mentally disturbed producer hit a flashpoint. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Clarkson was an actress of limited note in Hollywood, with a bit of stardom in her past for some B-movies, including Roger Corman’s Barbarian Queen. But Spector could intuit that the music was changing. While they were leaving the Polo Lounge, Spector got into an altercation with a woman outside. Indeed, he got a valuable opportunity and introduction to the killer songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who, having been mentored by Sill himself, had gone on to great success with songs like “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” — both big hits for Elvis Presley — and a string of other hits for the Coasters and other bands. His signature Wall of Sound consisted of one or two or three pianos, four or five or six guitars, as many bassists, drummers and percussionists, all playing together, precisely, and recorded with preternatural care to form a tsunami of aural effect. But something else was there as well. The meanness, the lack of affect when it came to the feelings of others; the way he controlled women; the obsession with his looks and feelings of inadequacy; the emotional scab-picking, the jealousies, the arrant cruelties. In 2006 he met and married a 26-year-old named Rachelle Short, a sometime model who became a vociferous defender of Spector’s innocence. As a child, Spector was asthmatic, allergic to the sun, and dominated by an overprotective and utterly domineering mother. At some point he took on the name Phillip and began spelling it with two l’s. The musicians were a large pool of session players, including guitarist Tommy Tedesco, bassist Carol Kaye, drummer Hal Blaine, and a few artists who went on to their own stardom such as keyboardist Leon Russell and guitarist Glen Campbell. The record appeared briefly at the bottom of the Billboard Hot 200 in the U.S. The time between Clarkson’s killing and Spector’s imprisonment was one of the more reprehensible spectacles of how celebrities accused of sexual inappropriateness and worse in the pre–Me Too era were given a pass. There are many pointillistic views of the Phil Spector phenomenon, but just about everyone agrees that he was not just a mean drunk but an irrational and intolerable one. But I think he had a terrific rage and anger that he didn’t look like Tarzan. He dealt with the death of his friend Lenny Bruce, paying for an elaborate funeral; he also palled around with Dennis Hopper, and even appears in the first scene of Easy Rider. Wolfe then dials things up to 11 and beyond:

“Every baroque period has a flowering genius who rises up as the most glorious expression of its style of life — in latter-day Rome, the Emperor Commodus; in Renaissance Italy, Benvenuto Cellini; in late Augustan England, the Earl of Chesterfield; in the sal volatile Victorian age, Dante Gabriel Rossetti; in late-fancy neo-Greek Federal America, Thomas Jefferson; and in Teen America, Phil Spector is the bona-fide Genius of Teen.”

The rest of the article is similarly uncritical, and also gives  the impression that Spector wrote all of his hits. (Bennett did all the backing vocals as well.) Spector gave Bennett a baroque, titanic setting — a mess of sound fronted by a thunderous drum recording and a bank of manic castanets. “He’s a Rebel” was not the first girl-group hit, but it was a clarion call. It’s probably true to say that he expanded the sound of pop, and the very possibilities of the form, more radically than any other person in the years between the heyday of Sun Records and the rise of the Beatles. He would drink to a point of near insensibility, and was prone to furious rages. I said, ‘What in the heck?’ and then I pulled over to the side of the road and listened to the rest of the record so I could hear the chorus again. In a year he would be incredibly successful, and shortly after that would be virtually a household name — the first producer to sell records just on the strength of his brand. A sense of what Spector’s life was like at the time can be inferred from the fact that he had already been through two failed dates that night, along with some large amount of tequila. The police found Clarkson in his front hallway; she’d been shot in the mouth. Tina Turner had never heard of Spector; in her autobiography, she gives a detached and unflattering perspective on the first impression he made to outsiders. It made me so very sad.”

In the wake of “River Deep — Mountain High,” Spector let Philles sit unattended. Calling Sonny, she said, “He’s asleep and a crowd of people are lookin’ at him.” Rousing him, Cher found the only way she could get Phil on another plane was to give him the St. Then Spector signed the Modern Folk Quartet, and recorded an album that gave the band a jaunty Beach Boys feel … but never released it. Artists were expendable and, if needed, re-nameable as well. Spector, looking to split a payday three ways rather than four, kept him from coming to Philadelphia for the Bandstand appearance and tried to edge him out entirely. Simply put, it was the job of the producer and engineer to record the mess of sound played by myriad instruments in a single room in a way that sounded good when the recording was played back over the single-speaker systems most kids listened to music on, whether in the car or on small record players at home. And in the midst of all of it he’d taken another position with a label called Liberty, accepting a $30,000 advance, and then walking away. (Music-trivia fans will note that Kleinbard, under the name Carol Connors, would go on to become a successful songwriter on her own, and many years later would write the [highly marginal] lyrics to the theme from Rocky — and get an Oscar nomination.)

After that Spector hooked up with producers Lester Sill and Lee Hazelwood. To some, the record was just too noisy. One notorious track — written by Carole King and her then-husband Gerry Goffin, no less — was unironically called “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss).” But the force of the women’s voices was undeniable; given the limited opportunities afforded women in the industry at the time, the platform Spector gave them was important. Nothing came of either. Spector had the ability to make smart people wary — Leiber and Stoller thought he was shifty, and “a man on the make” — and yet ultimately he charmed some of the most sophisticated minds of the day with his wit, knowledge, and sparkling talents. The lyrics went:

To know, know, know himIs to love, love, love himAnd I do (and I do and I do) woo-woo (and I do and I do)

The A-side was ignored — but the B-side got played in Fargo, North Dakota. He also added what are invariably referred to as the “heavenly choirs,” most glaringly on “Road.” (Outside voices had never been heard on a Beatles record before.) It worked, in one sense: Spector could point out that the recast “Long and Winding Road” and the title song were No. His relationship with them was always fraught, but he created four massive hits for the pair in quick succession: first “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and then “Just Once in My Life,” “Unchained Melody,” and “Ebb Tide.”

The first of these spent three weeks at No. It ended in a mistrial and everything started over. Sunglasses were omnipresent. The album ended oddly, with a droning piece of sentimental whimsy by Spector over the melody of “Silent Night.” Its initial release coincided with the Kennedy assassination that November; it was not commercially successful that season, but has found an enormous audience since. In 1980 Lennon was killed. She was working as a hostess in the VIP section of the House of Blues on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip the night Spector came in, very late in the evening of February 2. It may be Spector’s wildest and most dramatic achievement — one he let play out to nearly four minutes, an unprecedented length for a pop single in that era. The result was an emotionalism on a scale that simply had never been conceived of before. He was also sometimes a presence at momentous recording sessions, as on his brief but powerful guitar solo near the end of the Drifters’ dramatic “On Broadway.”

It was the beginning of the girl-group era, when just about everyone in this era would make money off the singers save for the so-called girls themselves: “Once a winning formula for a group had been identified,” writes Gillial Garr in She’s a Rebel, her history of women in rock and roll, “it was repeated in subsequent singles until the group stopped having hits. Finally, he changed both, adopting shoes with two-inch heels and wearing wigs. These people are losers and the plane’s not gonna make it!’ Phil always thought the people he thought were losers were cursed. Up and down, up and down. (That said, virtually all of those minor hits — like “Today I Met the Boy I’m Going to Marry,” by Darlene Love, which rose only to No. He fell into something approaching a permanent relationship with his assistant Janis Zavalos, apparently marrying her but not disclosing the fact to friends. That did not assuage McCartney’s well-known disdain for the productions. With “Spanish Harlem” proof that “To Know Him Is to Love Him” was not a fluke, Spector took on some projects on which he was officially a producer, and had two more hits in short order: For Ray Peterson, who’d had a hit with the lachrymose “Tell Laura I Love Her,” he took a traditional song called “Corrina Corrina” and took it into the top ten with a light but effective string section — and did the same with the doo-wop-y rave-up “Pretty Little Angel Eyes,” for a singer named Curtis Lee. Like, who gives a shit? 1 and in time grew to be a juggernaut, winning industry awards for being the most-played radio song of all time. Nothing came of it. And I thought, Who would want this? Two stories unfolded over the next five or six years. Ronnie filed for divorce three months after the marriage, but the pair reconciled. It’s a great rock-and-roll story — but one with early shades of what would become a defining penumbral Spectorian morality running through it. Clothes got even more flamboyant. (Wright discovered she’d been rechristened Darlene Love.)

The result, on record, was something plainly different from the other manifestations of the girl groups. There are two key moments in Spector’s life where he was extremely lucky; both, ironically enough, involved the Beatles. When her band was touring England with the Rolling Stones, he ordered Bennett to stay in her hotel room to be there anytime he called. The result was a lot of noise, by the recording standards of the time. Spector was quite short, with a weak chin and a pronounced, almost absurd Bronx accent. An old girlfriend went to visit him during this period and caught a good look of Spector at home:

“My God, talk about the Little Prince … All that stone, all that huge emptiness, and this endless dining-room table. (Spector quickly took full possession of the label.) He came back to Los Angeles and fixated on Gold Star, the small studio where he had crafted “To Know Him Is to Love Him.” He began to assemble a corps of musicians who could help him achieve the increasingly ornate ambition he had for his next singles. Once he was imprisoned, his new wife took over managing his affairs. Although he was a very successful producer at the time, his Wall of Sound girl-group hits constituted only five top-ten singles, with another eight top-40 tracks, with some of these hitting the lower reaches of the chart. Then it started catching on in the Midwest. King, and remains a golden-oldie classic to this day. His fame came from a precocity not just in music, but an ability to envision a world around the corner, one in which baroque pop constructions — little teenage symphonies for the kids, he called them — would thrill a new monied class of teenagers. People were armed to the teeth … you were slipping over bullets, and you were biting into revolvers in your hamburger. His mother would glare at female friends who visited; if young Phil was at a female classmate’s house, she’d call every 15 minutes, demanding he come home. After the departure of the second woman he chatted up Clarkson; in the early-morning hours he persuaded her to come home with him. The results are not just familiar but seem like they’ve always been here: “She’s a Rebel” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” by the Crystals; “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain” by the Ronettes; a series of hits for the Righteous Brothers, including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”; and then “River Deep — Mountain High,” an ambitious mini-epic he crafted for the voice of Tina Turner. One morning he headed off to his job in Brooklyn, parked, and then ran a hose from the exhaust pipe to the interior of his running car. Spector was also almost always credited as a co-writer of the song on the B-side as well. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

There were seven words that were used, ironically and once in a while sincerely, about Phil Spector from the start of his career: “To know him is to love him.” They were the title of his first precocious hit. His personality seemed to shift. He was soon sporting a cape and walking around with a briefcase. Related

Music Producer Phil Spector Is Dead at 81

Zendaya in Talks to Play Ronnie Spector in A24 Biopic

Tags: Finally, Spector took his sister’s side as she increasingly terrorized Kleinbard; after Kleinbard got in a near-fatal car accident, Spector didn’t visit her in the hospital. the stories about his dwindling powers had not spread. Soon he was part of Times Square’s roiling mix — just another eccentric in a Runyonesque world of song-pushers and other hustlers, one with his own way with a mot. As the decade wore on the brilliant businessman discovered his late manager had been embezzling from him. Spector sensed the need — and had the innate skills to create a new form of music to realize them. The recording, however, was not a happy experience for the Ramones themselves. The result wasn’t terrible — given Joey Ramone’s plain affection for girl-group songs, and the band’s own wall of sound, you could see how there was a logic to the collaboration. Clarkson may or may not have been depressed, but in reality she had worked steadily through 2001, when an accident left her with two broken wrists and disrupted her career. about how the final touches should be accomplished. He was born Harvey Philip Spector, with one l, on the day after Christmas, 1939, and grew up in the Bronx, at 1027 Manor Avenue. Among them were Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; Carole King and Gerry Goffin; Ellie Greenwich and Phil Barry; and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. They rarely went out. Where today individual drums in a drum set can be given their own track, back then the instruments were recorded en masse via microphones placed strategically around the (tiny and cramped) studio. Title: Out of My Chelle. “The most obscene and vile word in the language,” Spector would say later, “is dead.”

He left his home in Pasadena, leaving behind some unexplained animosity toward the town. Spector’s Beatles association gave him at least another decade of credibility. “Phil was just not available as a husband, partner, or friend,” she recalled. He helped Lennon maneuver the studio and produce one of his most memorable solo singles, “Instant Karma.” This beat-heavy chart, overlaid on one of the loudest of all the Wall of Sound productions, produced a No. On the personal level, friends, partners and lovers would be summarily abused and dropped. His relationship with his mother remained acrimonious; his sister’s mind was deteriorating and he had that to deal with as well. Does that actually make you feel big about yourself? And finally, at the end of the decade, most notoriously came a collaboration with the Ramones. Ronnie’s marriage to Phil Spector was the death sentence for her career; he had sidelined one of the most vibrant voices of her generation. While they had no formal name, in the future they would be called the Wrecking Crew. This was the time, as well, of the first reports of his tendency to coax people into his home and then keep them there for hours with a mixture of cajolery and threats. The music was subsidiary, an enterprise.

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James Charles Covers ‘Drivers License,’ Reminds You That He Sings

Singing has always been as integrated into Charles’s career as beauty, and he’s done covers of popular songs on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, in addition to his makeup videos, for years. But everyone knows Charles needs his solo moment, even if it’s just to remind himself that he’s the main character of this story. That group consisted of longtime vocal collaborators Anthony Gargiula, Trevor Garcia, Gaba, and Zoe D’Andrea performing an a cappella version of the song. In March 2020, he tweeted that he had begun songwriting sessions and that “a bop is in the works,” so some James Charles original music may be on the horizon. Related

Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ Is Nothing New — of Course It’s a Hit

Tags: Well, those singing lessons have paid off big time, honey. Sisters, you read that right, and we’ve got to hand it to him — it’s actually pretty good? The MUA wrote on Instagram, “I was super nervous to post it but I’m really proud of this so I hope you enjoy.” In the video above, he sings solo, ditching the friends he sang with on TikTok five days ago. He has covered Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, our national anthem, and has used makeup products as instruments in a cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” He has even done the ultimate combo and sang his makeup routine. James Charles, the controversial YouTube makeup artist, posted this stunning cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” today with a beat face cast in a neon-purple hue reminiscent of the original music video. Listen to that vocal control!

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Jules’s 2020 Was Worse Than Yours in the Euphoria Special Episode Trailer

The episode, titled “Fuck Anyone Who’s Not A Sea Blob,” revolves around Jules (played by a terrific Hunter Schafer) over the 2020 Christmas holiday “as she reflects on the year” filled with excellent eye looks and friendship heartbreak. “The me that’s underneath a million years of not me.” The special will premiere early on HBO Max on January 22, in advance of its HBO premiere on January 24. As if we needed another reason to reach for a Xanax while giving thanks for not being a current high-school student, Euphoria just dropped the trailer for its second “special episode,” which passes the moody narrative action from Rue to Jules. “Rue was the first girl who didn’t just look at me. She actually saw me,” Jules narrates in the trailer. Related

Zendaya Captures 2020 in Her Extraordinary Euphoria Performance

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And Now, TikTok’s #JunebugChallenge Comes to Break Arms

Creator of the Junebug challenge, Junebug. #junebugchallenge w/ @DALiii_Danger pic.twitter.com/cpCSdaQvQa— George Mnguni (@Okay_Wasabi) January 17, 2021

Imagine you’re just trying to get your teeth cleaned, and your dentist is doing THIS behind you. Named after the challenge’s creator, Junebug, the goal of the “Junebug challenge” is to keep it moving — arms, back, hands — and do it wherever you can, including but not limited to on roofs, on top of cars, and in the middle of fields, all to the track “Beat Box,” by Floridian trap rapper SpotemGottem. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Godfrey (@comediangodfrey)

These friends prove that the farther away the cameraman, the better. The dance moves in question are a more kinetic if not spastic version of the “Shmoney Dance,” which originated in 2014 with Rowdy Rebel and Bobby Shmurda. Now, “run and get started” on making your own version, but try not to cause bodily harm. To try the challenge yourself, start tapping into your creativity and get that back poppin’ with a step-by-step guide from Junebug himself. How to do the #junebugchallenge with Junebug 😄👍🏾 pic.twitter.com/f3sadk3swh— Junebug (@juneelite) January 13, 2021

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Try Not to Bust a Knee to TikTok’s Instant-Viral #BussItChallenge

Tags: Legendary. Mama came in swinging on this one; you know this is not her first fight. These queens are traveling in style, and when the flight attendant joins in? Below, we rounded up some of the best takes on the Junebug challeng so far from folks like rapper Saweetie, the Browns, and Lebron James. There’s also a version in which you try to jump-scare your unsuspecting parent or partner, but be ready for it to not always go your way, as you can see here with these two brave girls and their mom. Photo: @juneelite/Instagram

Attention to those with bad knees: If the #BussItChallenge proved too hard on your joints, there’s already a new viral TikTok dance challenge perfectly suited to you. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Junebug (@juneelite)

Start with a couple of the best from creator Junebug, who really takes his challenge all over town and his apartment complex. 😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/3sAWa6PyFQ— diamonté 🐻‍❄️ (@Saweetie) January 16, 2021

Lots of athletes have been rising to the challenge, including the Cleveland Browns …

View this post on Instagram A post shared by NFL (@nfl)

… the Carolina Panthers …

… and even the G.O.A.T., Lebron James. Here’s your reminder to take your birth control to avoid having grandchildren who force you to participate in internet trends when you are 80. Or better yet, imagine you’re trying to give BIRTH and your sister comes in, arms flailing. And this poor girl, her friend had her jumping like she saw a ghost. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Junebug (@juneelite)

Saweetie really took the challenge global with the help of a green screen. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Los Angeles Lakers (@lakers)

Just look at these two best friends snacking, lifting weights, and tossing a basketball together, all while throwing everything in motion.

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The Bachelor Recap: Ladies in Waiting

But because he’s never been on the other side of the rose, Matt doesn’t seem to have the situational empathy to realize what he’s doing is driving everyone mad. Beautiful nuance and compassion from Dildo Girl. He also spends the rest of the date with just a little bit of light foundation under his lip and on the tip of his nose. Chris Harrison comes in to set up the theme of the week, “Being Comfortable in Uncomfortable Moments,” which is Bachelor-speak for “One vaguely sexual date.” The first group date card of the week is for Rachael, Bri, Lauren, Kit, Serena C., Victoria, Khaylah, Anna, Kaili, and Katie. Was his #&^ completely *@(#@* or was her &&^# quivering as she &@&@*? She didn’t know she’d have to see him with other women and this whole thing feels like a knife through the heart. The mistake Sarah makes is she doesn’t just own up to how shitty the baseline behavior is. Cheers to another week! Sarah is telling Matt that she had to tell him how she was doing. This is a man who kinda looks like a sea turtle and he’s always wearing turtlenecks. He looked like the guy who gets mugged at the beginning of a Law & Order: SVU episode because he’s not paying attention to where he’s walking because he’s attempting to read Proust in the original French. We had to get this guy out of a lot of scrapes: breaking him out of a closed park he had gotten locked in, negotiating with French EMTs after he violently vomited at a party at my apartment, and (my personal favorite) the time he got his ass kicked after somehow managing to become a stash house for his drug-dealing neighbor. No, you cannot. I will never be fully on Victoria’s side, but she does a pretty good job at reminding Katie to get back up there and reclaim her time with Matt. He listens to her talk for about 45 seconds and then leans in for a kiss with absolutely no warning. She can’t fathom that she’s in the wrong here so she brings up how overwhelmed she is, how hard it is, without realizing that those aren’t unique feelings on The Bachelor and if she had maybe brought that up to the other women to vent, they might have felt more bonded with her. BITCH. It was selfish and inconsiderate behavior. You can really tell who had a password-protected Livejournal where they wrote sloppy Harry Potter/Draco slashfic, who has spent their adult life reading Bust’s “One Handed Reads,” and whose parents still haven’t told them where babies come from. Katie goes downstairs and immediately tells all the other ladytestants what is going on. If you locked me in a hotel room and told me the only things I could do were rearrange my Revolve dresses and think about my crush dating other women, I’d lose my shit too. His last relationship was about four months long and they broke up when it was time to define the relationship and he couldn’t see himself marrying the person he was dating. It’s very obvious that she’s realized she can get as much time and attention as she wants. Sarah isn’t special or unknowable. He says he doesn’t want to lose her. He should be moving away from this association but he’s running toward it. Can’t we just go back to that? It’s March and it makes no sense thematically with our *NSYNC song choice!!!! Instead, all the women are saying, “Just say you wanted the attention!” If you’ve ever heard your friend try to rationalize why she texted her ex and she says anything other than, “Because I wanted the attention,” you know exactly what the other women are feeling. Sarah cannot handle this. All of the ladies read their passages in front of a live studio audience of the other ladytestants. She is guided directly to where Matt is sitting with Katie and asks to interrupt. Either way, this is going to get old fast if each episode is about another white woman’s tears and not sex toys being used as pointers. The time has come for the afterparty and Matt takes Rachael aside first. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Let’s get to it. Matt walks Sarah back inside and delivers a long speech about how rose ceremonies are only going to get tougher and tougher. Katie is the bigger person and goes to talk to Sarah and Sarah says she’s decided to go eliminate herself. He tells Serena that he loves that she can see herself marrying someone like him and she gets the rose and they make out in a hot tub. All the other women are excited to get the group date back on track, but Matt James comes in and gives Rachael the group date rose! The moment that’s a little too harsh is when Victoria and Kit basically tell Sarah to fuck off. Bachelor Nation Newsletter
It’s the most dramatic season ever! Very cool lesson to learn on this show! He’s delaying the start of his date with Serena P., a woman of color, to go comfort a white lady. That was her biggest mistake. I don’t want this. Sarah apologizes and wants to clear the air and says her timing was bad. Katie waits behind a room divider. Matt’s story includes an extended description of the smell of chocolate cake and a woman dropping her purse. The rest of the women are ready to get their frustrations off their chest. What was his longer, more serious relationship like? All those things were certainly annoying and time-consuming, but we spent even more time dealing with his obsession with another girl in the program. Victoria is saying accurate things!! Meanwhile, back at the house, the next date card arrives and it’s for Serena P.! She just wants to have her donkey riding date or whatever but Matt decides he’d rather take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to go flop on Sarah’s bed and make out with her. He has no idea what he’s doing, he has no idea how to manage the situation, and he’s falling for any and all bullshit coming his way. Ma’am. But let’s be very clear: I believe that Sarah’s feelings of jealousy — compounded with her guilt about leaving her family to go watch this Handsome Squidward kiss a bunch of other women — made it a truly terrible experience. Sarah decides to come tell the women so they can hear from her what she did. Each of the ladytestants is tasked with writing their own “love scene” starring Matt James. She says that in her past relationships she’s had issues with faithfulness and commitment and jealousy so all those emotions are coming back. And he was only abroad for a semester! Please get him a make-up wipe or some Carmex. Most leads of the show (Claire excluded) tend to realize they have to temper their affections a little bit and try to focus on everyone equally. And again, the optics are WILD. What caused him to do that? She leads with how important her family is but rounds out the explanation with how cruel and malicious the other women are. Back at the house, it’s time for the next group date card to arrive and Sarah sneaks in just in time for the card to be opened. I’m not saying anyone is consciously doing anything here, but it’s becoming more and more clear in which direction Matt and the show’s instincts lean. It would make no sense for us all to wear flag tees, Christina. It includes the word “buttocks.” It honestly would be more erotic if the passage went, “Her hand cupped his absolute dump truck of an ass.” Matt introduces Ashley I. Katie comes out and asks, “Is what you’re going through insecurity? He’s going to make another woman wait for her one-on-one date while he flops onto Sarah’s bed to make her feel special. Sarah also asks Matt to walk her out when she finally has to leave. Just stay up in your room, lady. Anyway, Khaylah, Mari, MJ, Kaili and Victoria all get roses. You can’t make someone understand something they don’t want to understand. She was planning on going home and she just wanted to talk to him. Rachael even says, “Oh, you just really went for that, huh?” and Matt says he couldn’t wait any longer. that he has on everyone else. I just wrote in my notes in all-caps “READ THE ROOM MATT.” Poor Serena P.! She had to do it right now. A really fun game is trying to imagine what words are being bleeped. Oh my God, we’re still at the rose ceremony. This whole confrontation has “We can’t decide on what costumes to buy for the sixth-grade variety show and we’re going to argue in my mom’s station wagon on the way to the Old Navy but Christina refuses to compromise” vibes. Victoria wants to know what was so serious that she had to interrupt their group date. Sarah heads over to Matt’s house to tell him that she’s decided to leave. Also, there’s not usually a lot of commitment after the first date in most relationships. But it’s pretty difficult to be invested in this season when we have now seen two white woman (in just three episodes!) deploying their tears and disparage other women to get Matt’s attention. He would get drunk on French aperitifs and cry on our floor about how much he loved her. to a group of women who have been watching this show since they were 12 years old because he has no idea who Ashley I is. And Sarah can’t see she’s affected everyone and they’re the ones who need to cool off. You are on The Bachelor. He would rush to her side whenever she needed help and thought doing anything for her would make her fall in love. What lessons has he learned? Time for his date with Serena P. At this moment, it’s unclear if this trend is a result of the production only knowing how to light a Fenty 100 face or if Matt has something in him that wants to give these women more time and sympathy. Tags: Sir, that’s the speech for the beginning of the rose ceremony. The next day it’s time for Serena P.’s one-on-one da—just fucking kidding. Well, in this season of The Bachelor, Matt James is the fucking rube who everyone is going to have to clean up after. She tries to say that all the girls obviously know her heart and have gotten to know her and Victoria says “Whomst?” Everyone is mad about the unfair situation they’re all in with Sarah. Please stop deviating from the discourse the show is known for. I’d love to hear about that, but I guess we just never will. For all the shit Sarah is pulling, it’s only working because Matt is giving her attention at the expense of everyone else. She was beautiful. Victoria follows Sarah outside as she’s trying to leave and just wants to tell her that she changed the whole vibe on the group date – which is true! The other ladies on the date get frustrated because Sarah has already had a one-on-one date and is going to be on the other group date that week. Matt James arrives and realizes that his sweet little princess is upstairs pouting and wants to take five minutes to go comfort her again. They ride horses and Matt tells her that he loves turtles. Someone we’ve gotten zero screentime with so far. Can he at least mouthwash before he takes Serena P. Incredible rube energy. They heard it from Katie! Next week — five random new women! Sure, a couple of them were a little harsh, but what you’re actually experiencing is “Consequences for your Behavior.” Of course, Matt is crushed and he tells her how excited he was to spend time with her and get to know her. Who wants this? Unclear! I hate this! Katie comes down to the rest of the women to tell them that Sarah is going home and they should remember that they all have their own stories. Let me paint you a word picture: He was a white 21-year-old who wore a backwards Kangol hat, a dangly dragon earring, and a Mets watch and jacket. Matt talks a little more about his romantic history, how he’s never been in love and he’s had to reevaluate what he thinks love is. She even tries to whine to MJ that she feels emotionally beat up and MJ says “I need to cool down.” MJ is totally within her rights to need time to cool down! Well, that’s private. Katie asks if she can get back in there with Matt and Sarah says, “Can I bring him to you in five minutes?” Bitch. All the date card says is “Today is a surprise for everyone” and the surprise is Ashley I. The Bachelor
Week Three

Season 25

Episode 3

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

***

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Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Even though I went to a women’s college, the study-abroad program I did had one guy on it, and this lil’ dude was tragic. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Serena C.’s story rhymes, Kit uses some fun misdirects, Rachael says the phrase “my groin fluttered.” Katie and Victoria’s stories are absolutely filthy. If there was, I’d be married to the first guy I went out with on OKCupid. But Sarah can’t see that. What did you think would be happening? In fact, they all know exactly who she is and they would like her to stop. reading Chris Harrison’s erotica. She could have waited until the group date that she was going to be on, but nope. He was just a naïve little rube who we all had to clean up after. Sarah thinks she’s made amends and made a good apology but she just… hasn’t! It wasn’t shitty because her timing was bad. It will truly be remarkable if this show somehow manages to explode another season because this young college Republican can’t stop falling for a conventionally pretty white lady crying on a hotel couch. Okay, that’s a bit much. She had made eye contact with him once. Good night, ladies! Again, Matt uses the same romantic moves and the same generic language on Serena P. out? While Matt is chatting with Katie, Sarah decides that she’s had enough and heads over to the afterparty. She opens up to Katie about her dad’s illness, and Katie, whose father died in 2012, tells her, if you want more time with your dad, go get it. He pretended to stab me one minute into the date as a joke and blew his nose on a cloth napkin. Because this worked out so well for Tayshia! He says she’s going to find someone amazing but he’s just bummed it isn’t him and how she taught him so much about sacrifice and family. Because we’re all dealing with that and you’ve already had a one-on-one!” Katie tells her to basically figure it out as soon as possible because she’s taking time away from everyone else. She was perfect.

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Odd Couple Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church to Sing Super Bowl National Anthem

Or maybe the Super Bowl just needed to throw in a white-guy country singer in the name of, you know, unity. duetted on the standout “Girl Like Me” off Heaux Tales — but maybe a reunion would’ve been too easy here? will also perform at the Super Bowl, taking the traditional pregame rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Curiously, Sullivan and H.E.R. Together. H.E.R. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show seemed all but fated after his huge 2020, so here’s a curveball from the NFL: Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will sing the national anthem at the big game. Related

The Weeknd Will Headline the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show

Jazmine’s Tale

‘Girl Like Me’ Is the Heart of Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales

Tags: The two have never sung together before — hell, Vulture can’t confirm if they’ve ever met — but that’s not stopping the NFL here. R&B singer-songwriter Sullivan recently released her stunning, intimate fourth album, Heaux Tales, while country star Church has been releasing a string of singles ahead of a rumored new album and took home Entertainer of the Year at the 2020 CMAs. Regardless, see if Church can match Sullivan’s notes on February 7.

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Categories: Entertainment News

RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. Season-Premiere Recap: Balls in Your Court

Asttina Mandela already makes me mad because I’m going to have to remember how to spell her name all season, and why there is only one S and two T’s I have no idea. Royalty Returns

Season 2

Episode 1

Editor’s Rating

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Of all the words I’ve adopted in my years of living in the U.K., one of my favorites is the adjective ropy. Well, at least she’s funny. She tells us she’s a vegan, which we should know because she never stops going on about it. Bimini Bon-Boulash is wearing a barely there pink harness outfit with her tits and front bottom covered by some nude hose and rhinestones. Cherry Valentine walks in, and immediately her headdress hits the top of the door, prompting her to make her entrance yet again. Then we see her out of drag and she has a neon-yellow mullet and looks like Elton John’s lesbian niece. A vegan who won’t stop talking about her dietary choices? Something is ropy if it’s trying to be polished and glamourous but doesn’t have the means or refinement to pull it off. Sorry, Tia, but you’re ropy. Weekly. This one is Wimbledon-themed, and the girls have to look cute while getting balls thrown at their faces. I was just shocked that they didn’t have to make one of them out of prawn-cocktail-flavored crisps or something equally awful and British like that. This is the first episode of Drag Race. Well, with the exception of Tia Kofi, whose billowing wig was so diaphanous but thick that it kept getting tennis balls stuck in it during the mini-challenge. Finally, we have A’Whora with her inexplicable apostrophe and equally inexplicable orange face makeup as a boy. She is already my favorite. RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. What is up with these British cabaret stars who don’t try? (A Scouse is a person from Liverpool. Sister Sister walks into the room purse first, and along with her Bettie Page wig and a frumpy dress that’s so ugly it’s high fashion, we see that she has a glittery circle painted around her mouth. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! When it comes to the lip sync, Bimini is doing headstands and backflips, running all around the stage with her ass hanging out and her tucking tape waving hello at Michelle Visage, while Joe Black just kind of stands there doing as little as she can. She’s dressed as slutty Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, which would be cute if she didn’t throw her basket for no particular reason. The bottoms are Joe Black for a stringy David Bowie and a golden Brighton Pavillion, Bimini for some lady I had never heard of and a slutty Norwich soccer hooligan, and Sister Sister for her lackluster Dusty Springfield, but I was won over by her Scouse woman in pajamas, rollers, and fuzzy slippers. Veronica’s Boy George is excellent, if not too faithful. We are four queens in, and this is already the second boy who has a highlighter-hued mullet. Also this whole episode and not one Meet Joe Black joke? Tayce and Asttina both go as Naomi Campbell because, well, there aren’t enough Black British gay icons, and if there is one person who deserves to be doubled down on, it’s Naomi. Ru tells us he has photographed Rita Ora, Jessie J, and Cheryl, to complete the trifecta of British pop stars Americans only know about if they listen to Who? Tia Kofi, with the best name of the bunch, arrives in a Scary Spice wig and a leopard-print bodysuit that goes all the way down to her fingertips. Tags: I have a feeling we’re going to need them. If you want an example, look no further than the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., which had some great moments, but neither the queens nor the production lived up to the polish we’ve come to expect from the American mothership. I am very scared. The mini-challenge is the standard photo shoot with the queens that never results in very good pictures. Then we see her as a boy, and she has glasses and suspenders and looks like an extra from Revenge of the Nerds. Ginny Lemon comes in with a face painted for the back row and wearing a lemon-yellow fur hat and an old-timey dress that makes her look like Carol Channing’s older sister. She tells us she doesn’t care about looking good, and, well, it shows. The hometown looks are a bit better, but there’s a duplication, too, as both Tia and A’Whora go as Robin Hood to represent Nottingham. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. The one highlight is that the photographer, former boy-bander Kevin McDaid, is as fine as all the china in the shop. Well, tie me up and drown me in Irn-Bru. Girl, I have not seen a bigger stretch in all of the Pilates classes in all of the world. That means there was a Canadian on the show before there was someone from either Scotland or Wales, both of which are represented this season. Anyway, she is basically the nonproblematic Azealia Banks, and I am here for it. In this archery duel, A’Whora’s short, spangled number looks a lot better than Tia’s Lord of the Rings costume straight out of a bag. You know, just another night in the West End. It makes total sense that she gets the hook, but at least this season, we’re being spared the rope. She’s from Liverpool, but I can actually understand what she’s saying, which means she has either had elocution lessons or a full head transplant. She’s wearing a black bodysuit with red sequined gashes all along it, and I am shocked that someone from Darlington looks so good. I was shocked when season one of the show didn’t feature even one Scottish queen. Ellie Diamond, also Scottish, shows up in a pink dress with a heart cut out of the bosom, and between the hair, clothes, and makeup, she’d better hope Trixie Mattel can’t sue her for copyright infringement. Yeah, I know it’s weird.)

There are actually some queens I thought were a lot worse, notably Tia and Veronica, whose hometown look is just a giant red dress she tries to tell us is a Lancashire rose. The tops of the week are Asttina, particularly for her East London round-the-way girl, Lawrence as Diana Rigg and a latex stained-glass window that looks like it cost her a year’s wages, and Ellie Diamond, who does a killer Lily Savage (who is sort of like the working-class English version of Dame Edna and definitely worth checking out on YouTube if you can manage to understand her accent) and a bondage-inspired Dennis the Menace, who I had no idea was Scottish. But most of them are sort of like Joe Black’s David Bowie, which is just him in drag with red hair, or Cherry Valentine’s Freddy Mercury, which is just drag with a mustache. I swear these were two costumes she just had in her arsenal (or maybe up her arsenal), and she was like, “I can say this is David Bowie even though it’s not, really, and I can say this is the Brighton Pavillion even though everything about it is wrong from the color to the time period. For shame. In fact, there isn’t one queen in this whole season who has good boy hair. I think either of these two should have replaced Bimini, whose hometown look I thought was brilliant and a little bit different from everyone else’s much more traditional drag. In the end, Bimini has to lip-sync against Joe Black, who, let’s be honest, didn’t really seem to try in this challenge. Tia Kofi’s turn as computer pioneer Alan Turing is a good effort, but a suit with rainbow binary code does not an Alan Turning make. She is dressed like Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard, and it looks good and expensive, though it is not especially original. What are they going to find next season? Add that to Lawrence’s Eraserhead-at-the-beach boy haircut, and the results are pretty awful. Joe Black is from Brighton and is our second queen with a boy name, and I’m having Derrick Berry flashbacks; someone better check on me because nothing puts me in a coma of hatred like thinking of Derrick Berry. Maybe my expectations were lower, maybe the quarantine had me thirsting for any new content, but the queens this time around just seem a lot better. Also, all the girls say she’s drama, and I’m ready to give her the Phi Phi O’Hara Award for Unlikability after she’s been on my screen for about ten seconds. Ru tells the girls they have to dress as a British gay icon and then pretends to shock them all by saying they need to come up with a second look inspired by their hometown. It’s Charlie Hyde all over again. But her soot-inspired makeup and smoke blowing go a long way. Lawrence is wearing a curly Joan Fontaine purple wig and is mean not only to herself but to every single queen who walks through the door. Tia jokes that she is going to give us a reveal, but there is no reveal. I was especially impressed by Tayce as a camp version of the Welsh flag and Cherry Valentine’s steampunk train station — though, to be fair, every British town has a train station, not just Darlington. Aren’t there always two looks? Like Derrick, Joe says she is world-renowned for her cabaret shows, which probably means she’s going home first. The gay-icons drag is a bit of a mixed bag, and I wish some of the queens had done more interesting interpretations of British gay men instead of just the women gay men love. And Tayce is not only Welsh, but a Welsh person of color. A unicorn from the Isle of Man? No, I don’t know why. I would like to blame the pandemic, but I don’t think I can. It’s sort of like the American adjective cheesy but different. The first queen in the door is Lawrence Chaney, who is Scottish and jokes that she comes with subtitles. I really hope Mel B is the guest judge this week, because she is the only person who will appreciate this outfit. Really? Veronica Green is from Lancashire and is wearing a purple fishtail dress with a huge purple bow, and she looks like an extra from Pretty in Pink. I settled into the new “series,” as the Brits say, ready for it to be ropier than a bondage seminar, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. Email

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Terms of Service apply. This all makes me sad because there is a zero-sum chance Veronica was alive in the ’80s. Tayce, who scores an eight on the Ugly-Boy-Hair-Ometer, is Welsh, wears a long black wig and a black-and-white jacket, and looks like a girl you went to fashion school with, if you went to fashion school. Imagine seeing that on the other side of a glory hole. They’re not going to notice.” Oh, girl, they noticed. Is that a shock? Groundbreaking.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Eddie Huang Debuts Pop Smoke, the Actor, in Boogie Trailer

“No one believes in an Asian basketball player,” he says in a voice-over, as the late Pop Smoke’s “Got It on Me” rumbles in the background. Boogie bounces into theaters on March 5, 2021. You know him for his ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, his memoir, and his bao. We can cook, clean, count real good, but anything else, we’re picked last.” With his NBA dreams on the line, Boogie contends with his on-court rival, played by Pop Smoke (born Bashar Jackson) in his posthumous film debut; his new girlfriend, played by Zola’s Taylour Paige; and “5,000 years’” worth of expectations. “It’s a joke in this country. The acclaimed writer, TV personality, and restauranteur makes his directorial debut with Boogie, a coming-of-age-story following a Chinese American teen in Queens, New York. Now, Eddie Huang introduces his filmmaking. You can meet Alfred “Boogie” Chin in the brand-new trailer above. He’s got an incredible jawline and even more impressive basketball skills, but among his ancestors’ blessings, he also inherited their generational trauma. Related

Eddie Huang’s Movie Boogie, Starring Pop Smoke, Comes Out March 5

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After All This, Donald Trump Could Lose His SAG Card, Too

This low-rent Mr. Deadline reports that this meeting may result in the suspension or expulsion of Trump from SAG-AFTRA for “engaging in actions antagonistic to the interests or integrity of the union.” Apparently, the events of January 6 were a “breaking point” for many SAG-AFTRA members. On Tuesday morning, the SAG-AFTRA union’s national board of directors will convene for a special session to discuss taking disciplinary actions against President-for-like-24-more-hours Donald Trump. Sheffield wannabe. Previously, in response to his attacks on the media, 400 delegates to the union’s biennial convention in October 2019 gave Trump a toothless and indirect slap on the wrist by passing a resolution in support of a “free and unencumbered press.”

Deadline notes that an expulsion, which could take weeks and multiple hearings after today’s meeting, would not affect Trump’s SAG-AFTRA pensions for his screen work, which annually amount to, oh my God, $99,500. Sources

Deadline

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Is Trump Really Going to Pardon Lil Wayne on His Last Day in Office? Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Won’t Accept Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom

Arnold Schwarzenegger Draws His Sword and Condemns Insurrection in Video Address

Tags: Photo: nikee foreal/YouTube

No more screeners for Barron.

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Categories: Entertainment News

Watch Fall Out Boy’s Decades-in-the-Making Performance for Biden Inauguration

I can’t tell you how happy I am,” she said, according to the Independent. This made Fall Out Boy one of the more anticipated performances of the January 17 concert, at which the pop-punk band somewhat aptly performed the hit “Centuries.” Other artists included pop-rock band of brothers AJR, which played the new single “Bummerland”; Carole King with her standard “You’ve Got a Friend”; and James Taylor covering “America the Beautiful.” Biden superfan Cher also appeared at the event with a speech to the president-elect. She continued, “I know you’re tough. Everyone else knows you’re compassionate, but I know you’re tough. Fall Out Boy’s performance at Biden’s pre-inauguration “We the People” fundraiser concert also goes back decades to when bassist Pete Wentz’s parents met while working for Biden in his first Senate term. Joe Biden’s ascent to the presidency goes back decades to when he became one of the country’s youngest senators in 1972. Related

Here’s How to Watch the 2021 Presidential Inauguration of Joe Biden

Tags: A presidency that pop music is actually excited about — imagine that! Later in the day, the New Radicals will reunite to perform their hit “You Get What You Give” — a favorite of both the Biden family and future Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff — at the virtual inauguration parade. And that night, Tom Hanks will host the prime-time special Celebrating America, with performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, and others. And I know that you’re the man.” Cher also performed her cover of Miley Cyrus’s 2010 song “I Hope You Find It.”

The “We the People” concert was the kickoff to a packed week of festivities celebrating Biden’s and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s inauguration on January 20. The event itself will feature Biden supporter Lady Gaga singing the national anthem, along with performances by Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. “I’m so happy.

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Governor Zach Morris Signs Saved by the Bell Season 2 Into Legislation

Peacock’s Saved by the Bell reboot, a self-aware satirical delight that brought back several of the show’s original stars to Bayside High, has been renewed for a second season. “Hopefully we stay on Peacock for many more seasons,” showrunner Tracey Wigfield said in a statement, “and then in 30 years, somebody does a reboot of our reboot and invents the threeboot.” If we follow that narrative logic, Zach Morris will likely be president, Jessie Spano will run a self-help empire, and A.C. Photo: Casey Durkin/Peacock

Now do Great News next. Slater will … still be teaching phys-ed. The streaming service confirmed today that 10 more episodes have been ordered, with Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani Thiessen, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar all expected to return for their lead or supporting roles. Related

Saved by the Bell’s Dustin Diamond Has Stage 4 Cancer

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So, Is Apple Building a Netflix for Podcasts?

You can find Servant of Pod on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the great assortment of third-party podcast apps that are hooked up to the open publishing ecosystem. I just don’t think it makes for a paid podcast service to be that thing. On a technical level, Bernhard points out, Pro Tools also just offers more possibility. Oh, and if you’re watching this season of The Bachelor, I’m willing to bet this Decoder Ring episode is a key to understanding what the heck is up with Victoria. ➽ Follow up to the last blurb in my preview column last week. There’s a modularity to Vox Quick Hits’ publishing thesis, suggesting an attempt to reconcile a design tension that’s inherent in the daily news podcast format: offering choice without sacrificing the specificity of each episode experience. This distribution context renders Hasta la Vista, America as a noteworthy example of three things: it’s a self-published audiobook distributed over existing podcast architecture (meaning, consumers could listen to the audiobook in the same context as they would podcasts); an instance where the function of a podcast feed is recontextualized based on what’s delivered over the infrastructure; and a small experiment testing the waters of what a direct-to-consumer audiobooks alternative to Audible could look like. So, Hasta la Vista, America isn’t really my cup of tea — neither is Baldwin, for that matter — but the broader story about the audiobook itself is interesting to me for the nature of its distribution. For close observers of podcasting, the profile is distinct for two things. I’m not saying that Apple shouldn’t do this. When I spoke to Heather Fain, Pushkin’s Chief Marketing Officer, about the experiment last week, she emphasized that the company was simply interested in using the opportunity to try stuff out and discovering what’s possible when they’re able to keep listener data for themselves. “As there’s a movement to really open doors and make opportunities available for all kinds of people getting into audio,” Guerin said, “requiring the most expensive program is kind of the opposite direction that we want to be going.”

It’s Like, You Know, a Book for Your Ears

Last week, Pushkin Industries, the audio publishing company founded by Jacob Weisberg and Malcolm Gladwell, published what can be described as its first independently-produced audiobook. Hasta la Vista, America won’t be available on Audible — that is, unless something changes moving forward — and Pushkin seems content in treating the project as a light step towards establishing a consumer-facing brand over the long term. Pushkin is selling the audiobook for $0.99 directly to listeners using RSS feeds set up by Supporting Cast, the upstart podcast hosting platform from Slate that’s working to build out direct revenue options for podcast creators. It makes sense that you should definitely try something. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby — performed by the staff — now that the novel is in the public domain, and released that through the show’s RSS feed as an illustration of copyright law. Related

2021 in Podcasting: Now What? Nelson pitches this as a way to broaden out the feed’s appeal, as the multi-drop nature of a day’s releases cuts into the possibility of someone pulling up the podcast and not finding something they’d want to check out on any given morning. On Friday, though, Spotify was met with another flavor of headlines. “But it offers this absolute, 100-percent open door to anyone who knows how to use it.” And while “it seems like a silly thing to just talk about the appearance of it,” the colors and interface of the program itself, purposely subdued, don’t as readily cause eye fatigue, allowing producers to work more comfortably and for longer stretches of time. Neither has Apple, for that matter. (Oh, and a disclaimer: you probably know that Hot Pod is syndicated by Vulture, to which I am also a contributor, and that Vulture is owned by Vox Media, which makes this all a spaghetti bowl situation where I’m writing about a partial employer. We simply haven’t seen meaningful efforts at a true podcast equivalent to Netflix or even something more genre-specific like Crunchyroll, Shudder, or the Criterion Channel. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Long-term strategery or otherwise, the company’s gonna start putting up numbers if it wants to preserve its new toy shine. Over the past week, at least four stations — including Houston Public Media, KUT in Austin, Marfa Public Radio, and KCRW in Los Angeles — suspended broadcast of The New York Times’ popular daily news podcast in response to the scandal around Caliphate. Consider Apple’s other media businesses that deal in original content. Pushkin has a history of playing around with what it means to be an audio publisher. Spotify may very well believe in its big bet according to a longer-term timeline — Spotify CEO Daniel Ek recently opined as such over Twitter — but the Citi situation indicates that Spotify still needs to balance the potential with the actual in the eyes of those with the money. Sure, the program has its downsides — for example, just registering students’ software eats up the first few weeks of CUNY’s semesters, without fail — but it does deliver a crucial quality: continuity. But she was also left with another question: Is Pro Tools even worth it in the first place? Meanwhile, Avid — the parent company of Pro Tools — markets Pro Tools as music software. Those two things are held in tension throughout the profile, which ultimately maintains Spotify in the narrative position of being the ambitious, risk-taking upstart. That example is somewhat fraught. Email

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Terms of Service apply. And yet, Guerin says, when she recently browsed freelance job listings for those exact roles, “if they said anything about an editing software, it was ‘fluency in Pro Tools.’”

This ubiquity baffles audio producer Chris Tsakis, who says he’s gotten by with various other programs, even while freelance-producing an audiobook for a major company. Costing anywhere from $300 to $420 annually, Pro Tools ain’t cheap. Selected Notes…

➽ Almost three years after Pocket Casts was acquired by a consortium of public radio organizations, the podcast app appears to be in the process of being sold off again. Over the weekend, The Daily host Michael Barbaro posted an apology on Twitter, chiefly for his behind-the-scenes attempts to influence how other journalists framed the Caliphate story in their writings and public speech. It strikes me that the show is well-positioned to serve as a testing ground for potential new podcast hosts on staff and as a way to quickly pilot new show ideas. In addition to creating ad-supported podcasts, the company has also produced audiobooks through conventional channels, most recently collaborating with Audible to produce the Audible Original FAUCI by Michael Specter. I get it: Podcasting keeps growing, and if you’re Apple, it definitely feels some kinda way that you’re not directly financially benefiting from all that growth, plus there are all these other platforms trying to benefit from this thing that you’ve helped cultivate all these years. So, another example of a thing you’d find in the Vox Quick Hits feed will be short-form adaptations of Vox Conversations, the podcast formerly known as The Ezra Klein Show, which has been reskinned and retooled since Klein left Vox Media to join the New York Times Opinion section where he is also due to launch a new interview podcast. We’ll see if this approach works. Back in 2015, the how-to blog OSTraining tried to draw attention to this split. “I’m sorry.”

Whether any of this will affect Andy Mills, the Caliphate co-lead and producer on The Daily whose professional behavior came under renewed scrutiny in the fallout of the scandal, remains unclear. 1.5x Speed: A Weekly Newsletter of Podcast Recommendations and Reviews
Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. Those efforts, and the way it clouded the Times’ management of the Caliphate aftermath more broadly, were previously reported by NPR. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the venture needs to provide better programming than all available alternatives in the open ecosystem — that is, to be entrenched in the highly volatile hits-making business. The fact that Apple just further extended Apple TV+ free trials until July 2021 doesn’t inspire much confidence on the user acquisition front. “I didn’t expect that the innocent question of ‘How do I learn Pro Tools for free?’ would launch this whole debate about whether or not Pro Tools is necessary,” she said. Over the past year and a half, Bloomberg has published several reports on Apple’s activities with original podcasts, and though Apple was thought to have been a suitor for Wondery (which ended up going home with Amazon), the company’s adventures in podcast creation to date have chiefly been limited to exclusive productions meant to promote its other media businesses, whether it’s Apple Music (The Zane Lowe Interview Series) or Apple News (Apple News Today). Previously, only its latest episodes were made easily accessible, with the remainder of the show’s catalogue kept behind Stitcher Premium’s paywall. From the AP: “Extremists exploit a loophole in social moderation: Podcasts.”

➽ From Reuters: “China’s Tencent buys audiobook platform Lazy Audio for $417 million.” Lazy Audio also distributes podcasts and radio shows in addition to audiobooks. That arrangement required some coordination between Slate and the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, and interestingly enough, listeners can still buy the audiobook over the Audible platform if they so wished. Also worth noting: The decision of these stations to drop syndication did not come with a specific ultimatum or request for remedy. The last time the service’s user numbers were widely discussed, it was thought to be around 33 million, though researchers suspected the majority of those subs were not paid for but bundled in as part of a broader distribution arrangement. To find meaningful comparative examples, you’d have to look at parallel industries: Audible with audiobooks, for instance, which I’ve often thought about as the lone counter-argument against the notion that people won’t pay for podcasts or on-demand audio. Listen, Decoder Ring is prooobably one of my favorite podcasts of all time, and I strongly suspect it’s somewhat underrated… whatever that means when it comes to podcasting. I asked the rep if they had anything to offer about The Information’s report. “If you have professional music experience or just need to have the ‘best of the best,’ Pro Tools might be the solution for you,” the site read. Share, leave a review, so on. And hits? You can find Vox Quick Hits here. Apple’s original podcast stuff has been fairly benign so far, but the thread of the company actually exploring a paid subscription service hasn’t been meaningfully established or signaled until now. “From an equity standpoint, it’s kind of ridiculous,” she said, since the world of podcasts and radio shows relies heavily on independent producers and the assumption that they have gear that matches in-house standards. Fain, of course, reiterates a diplomatic bigger picture when I posed the question. “Part of our premise is that there’s not that much overlap between podcast listeners and audiobook listeners,” Weisberg told me last summer. But even that comparison comes with caveats. Called Hasta la Vista, America, it’s a short humor piece written by Kurt Andersen pegged to President Trump’s impending departure from the White House with the outgoing president being narrated by… well, Alec Baldwin. What I am saying, though, is that if Apple is truly considering building out a subscription podcast service, I hope it’s not a situation where that service might be built up at the expense of the existing Apple Podcasts infrastructure, whether that means crucial resources diverted away from that team or the plug being pulled entirely. “Pro Tools is a very expensive piece of machinery to own — much like a Ferrari,” says Jochum, of The Wall Street Journal. In any case, Hasta la Vista, America isn’t even Supporting Cast’s first case of supporting direct audiobooks sales. Already, this at least includes a laptop ($800+) and might also include a recorder ($150+), cables ($20+), and a microphone (anywhere from $100 to $1,000); add in a multi-hundred-dollar program with an inherent complexity that leads even seasoned producers like Guerin to wonder how she’ll learn to use it, and an already technical field becomes that much more exclusive. Tangentially… While we’re on the subject of Vox Media, a quick thought. Consider one of the fundamental issues for new listeners trying out podcasts: They are made to navigate the full spectrum of options that spans millions and find content that means something to their given tastes. In the larger picture of how tech companies like to be seen, that’s generally a win. I am but a humble blog boy. Maybe her problem wasn’t that yet another person preferred that she use Pro Tools; maybe it was the fact that she’d need to be trained to use it… and had to find the most cost efficient way to do so. Chad Bernhard, of CUNY, says that while they may not entirely justify the price, Pro Tools’ capabilities give substance to its reputation. I’m tempted to suspect there are other, more subtle managerial functions to creating Vox Quick Hits. Because that scenario has a very high likelihood of ending badly for everybody in podcasting. But I think there’s a net loss somewhere here: I had the disorienting experience over the weekend of wanting to revisit an old Ezra Klein Show episode over the weekend, plugging the title into my podcast app search bar, and coming up with nothing familiar — only later remembering that the entire archive is now sorted under the new Vox Conversations banner. “I never told them that I cut and mixed the entire thing in [Adobe] Audition,” he told me over email. ➽ This open-letter initiative by Celeste Headlee went live yesterday: “An Anti-Racist Future: A Vision and Plan for the Transformation of Public Media.”

➽ Freakonomics Radio, the flagship show in Stephen Dubner’s growing podcast network, has made its entire ten-year archive free over the open podcast ecosystem. This is also presumably the end of the Trump podcast era… maybe? Slate had previously used the platform to facilitate direct RSS-delivered sales of the audio version of Something That May Shock and Discredit You, the latest book from Daniel Lavery (who is also a Dear Prudence columnist for Slate). And insofar as Apple Music might be a potential model, it makes for a fairly thin comparison. I believe the integrity of my independence should be apparent to most, built on this newsletter’s six-year history, but you’re free to believe whatever you want to believe.)

Meanwhile, in Sweden… It’s been a curious week for the aspiring all-consuming audio platform. “No one was the wiser or cared.”

Considering the evident capabilities of other programs, Guerin wondered if Pro Tools was worth learning. Some of them are already with Spotify. Very on brand. Even if Pro Tools didn’t have the highest price, it would likely always be out of reach for some. And, more importantly, was it worth paying for? 4 Public Radio Stations Have Dropped The Daily

How Luminary’s Messy Debut Ended Up Roiling the Podcast Industry

Tags: For one thing, Spotify still has a bunch of cards that it hasn’t fully played yet: there’s still tremendous leakiness and inconsistent application with respect to the relationship between its owned content and exclusivity; the company still hasn’t really flipped the switch with its Streaming Ad Insertion play and what is clearly a gambit to pursue a “YouTube for Podcasting” playbook; and there’s an element of assumed threat from would-be competitors like Amazon or the theoretical Apple Podcast subscription service, when neither of those parties have yet to actually exhibit any evidence of being able to execute on their own podcast interests. As small and playful as the scope of this project might be, I couldn’t help but think you always run the risk of incurring a monopolistic entity’s wrath whenever you try to explore ways to subvert the monopolistic condition. Citi ultimately downgraded its assessment of Spotify’s stock, moving from neutral to sell. That said, there has been enough recent movement that suggests Apple is seriously considering something with respect to podcasts. Apple Podcasts, after all, is the foundational pillar propping up open podcasting to this day, and that open ecosystem is itself the thing that’s already well proven its value to podcast creators, audiences, and advertisers alike. Now, I totally get the logic of refashioning the feed, as you’d want to maintain the subscriber base for whatever the new show is going to be. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There was a bit of a hullabaloo last Friday afternoon, when The Information’s Tom Dotan and Jessica Toonkel published a report stating that Apple is “discussing launching a new subscription service that would charge people to listen to podcasts, according to people familiar with the matter.” Dotan and Toonkel further report that talks are underway between Apple and production companies about this new subscription offering, but they also note there doesn’t appear to be a solid product timeline in place at the moment — and that, perhaps more importantly, Apple doesn’t always go through with ideas they kick around. “Could we have sold more copies if we had put this up through Audible, Apple Books, or Libro? Liz Kelly Nelson, Vox Media’s editorial director of podcasts, told me that her team was pleased with how that experiment went, and she framed Vox Quick Hits as an effort to adapt the learnings from that project for the broader podcast ecosystem. I think it’s still a little too early to tell whether Spotify’s actually failing in its spend podcast-oriented gambit to build out an audio streaming service free from the pressure of the music labels. Anyway, come for the blue food, stay for the talk on the recent Jane Fonda two-parter. But the Citi note is nevertheless distinct for how it illustrates that Spotify’s running out of the goodwill that comes with bold moves. (According to Avid’s site, the $360 plan is most popular, charging users $29.99 monthly.) Other reputable programs don’t cost pennies either: A comparable subscription plan for Audition rings up at $20.99 per month, and to outright purchase the “PRO” version of Hindenburg Journalist, a different but fairly limited program, you’ll need $375. “Pro Tools is really good, but I think for a lot of what podcasts do, it’s more machine than they need,” says Jochum. (Something, of course, you can’t do when selling audiobooks through Audible.) They felt that the slight nature of Hasta la Vista, America which clocks in at a mere forty-two minutes, lent itself well for this experiment, because it’s probably not of the kind of heft that would warrant Audible’s interest. This article first ran in Hot Pod, an industry-leading trade newsletter about podcasting by Nick Quah. Here’s my take: I’m not entirely convinced a theoretical “Apple Podcast+” service would be a fruitful gamble for the company. Further, many practiced engineers favor the program because it allows them to improve audio that’s already been recorded; producers might also use it to make sound-rich shows. A lot of this has to do with the fundamental puzzle of standing up a paid podcasting service more generally, which is ground I’ve covered plenty already, but I suppose it’s time to reiterate, update, and expand on a few things. “I liken it to having a Ferrari and giving it to your grandmother so she can drive to the supermarket.”

When working with simple formats, especially on projects with tight timelines (like radio programs), she says, “it really has way more capabilities than you’re ever going to use.” This makes the proportionally high price unnecessary for lots of producers; it also makes simple tasks incredibly hard to complete. Analysts from Citi, the banking and investment group, published a note to its investors expressing fresh skepticism over Spotify’s big podcasting bet. And don’t forget the iLok, the physical USB stick that some users prefer over the cloud for housing their Pro Tools software license. One last thing about Vox Conversations: that show has been restructured to feature a different interviewer speaking to a guest in every episode. Vox Quick Hits partly comes out of the company’s experience developing a Google Assistant-oriented project that was released last summer. A release valve, perhaps, for a problem I’ve been hearing more about lately in newsrooms everywhere: lots of writers want to host their own podcast, though management only has so much real estate and resources to give. It’s also the default software for Chad Bernhard, an audio engineer at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. The answer is going to probably be yes at the end of the day, but the long-term value of just understanding how this works is worth more at this point, I think,” said Fain. Desktop listening is also recommended. Womp womp. They decline to comment. “As an industry standard, it also can be a barrier for access, and that’s something I’m concerned about.”Guerin, on the other side of the software, agrees. Examples of the latter include stuff like Vox critics doing rapid dive into a new cultural thing or a reporter serving up a brief story from their beat. Pro Tools, says Jochum, “was created for musicians so they can make beautiful music with it,” and it works for that purpose. You might also look at Apple Arcade, the company’s premium mobile gaming service originally meant to curate critically and aesthetically pleasing games. The thing about Audible is that it’s not really in the media business but in the digital retail business, ultimately dependent on the book publishing industry for the actual work of creating the things people want to buy. This also makes me think it could be interesting to build a whole interview show around a constant interviewee. “Audible is so dominant in this market and they’re going to be really important for us in all scenarios, but what we hope is that we build a scenario where we work with a lot of partners while also building a space for ourselves where we can experiment.”

Fair enough. Otherwise, the program is one thing: “Overkill.”

Pro Tools might be “music software for everyone,” but it’s still music software, bringing a feature complexity most podcast creators and radio producers will probably never need. Apple TV+ might be a decent comp, but the state of that service is pretty ambiguous at this point. Considering the benefits that Pro Tools does have — and the hold it maintains on the industry at least partially due to those merits — when Guerin saw listing after listing that insisted on a program she hadn’t yet needed to master, her instinct was to figure it out, not to complain. Some of the episodes will be short adaptations of existing Vox Media podcasts like Today, Explained and The Weeds, while others will be material produced specifically for the feed. I guess if Audible gets to play around with podcasts, podcast publishers should get to play around in kind too. I first wrote this development last Friday, and it’s unclear to me if more stations have joined the list since then. Speaking of audiobooks… NPR’s Planet Money produced an audiobook of F. That show also publishes ten-minute episodes, but it goes by a one-a-day cadence, ultimately offering an experience that comes off as a tighter, specific alternative to the existing daily news podcast conventions a la The Daily, Post Reports, What Next, and The Journal. “In a way, we want to mess it all up in the sense that we want to make podcasts that are more like audiobooks and audiobooks that are more like podcasts, and get the one who’s not listening to the other to cross over.”

There are probably other examples of RSS feeds being jury-rigged for audiobook distribution that date back to well before this moment, though I wasn’t able to unearth another similarly-structured case in my own digging around over the long weekend. You have to start with the reality that nobody’s really figured out a Netflix-esque paid subscription service for podcasting just yet, which is another way of saying that audiences haven’t sufficiently expressed interest in that kind of relationship with podcasts … or that audiences haven’t been sufficiently conditioned to want to pay for a service that would serve them podcast-like experiences. We’ve covered the notion of podcast preservation in this newsletter before, and I feel compelled to bring it back up: maybe consider spinning out a new feed around The Ezra Klein Show for archival purposes? The project also seems like a natural evolution of Recode Daily, Vox’s daily short-form tech news podcast hosted by Teddy Schleifer. In tomorrow’s Servant of Pod… Willa Paskin of Slate’s Decoder Ring is on the show this week. For all intents and purposes, Luminary went nowhere, notable only for its achievements in raising investment money and driving headlines. Some public radio stations have dropped The Daily from their schedules. Today, the Vox Media Podcast Network is launching a new audio product called Vox Quick Hits, billed as “a daily morning podcast playlist.” The product takes the shape of a podcast feed that publishes three ten-minute episodes every day, with each installment sourced from a different subject area. Sure, Audible has pushed into the original content business over the past few years, but there hasn’t been much public evidence that Audible has been able to pull off original content development just yet. Spotify was the beneficiary of a big Bloomberg profile last Tuesday, which stitched together most of the myriad threads the company had been unspooling over the past two years into a single narrative package. ➽ Pour one out for WNYC’s Trump Inc, which ends its run this week as the Trump presidency comes to a close. (Spotify’s narrative would take another hit on Friday afternoon with the news about Apple’s possible subscription podcast service.)

A few things here. “What Pro Tools has done is remain remarkably stagnant in the last 20 years, which seems like a bummer,” he says. It was only after dozens of people — more than twice as many as had answered Guerin’s original question — voiced their frustration about being expected to learn complicated and pricey software that she reflected on the question. I’m curious to see if this will work, as one of my long-held convictions is that interview shows are all about the constant of the interviewer, and that listeners tune in for the consistency and eventual comfort of being around that person’s worldview or galaxy of preference. Maybe the superstar status of Malcolm Gladwell provides enough cover to mitigate that risk, but still, it’s something that would worry me. When it comes to the concept of a paid podcasting service, we’re essentially talking about a venture in the business of extending the promise that it can consistently and perpetually beat the entire universe of free alternatives. That can be an incredible asset for the right kind of work, says Kateri Jochum, executive producer of audio for The Wall Street Journal, and that caveat is important. Current’s Tyler Falk has the report on this. To that end, Jochum enthusiastically encourages her staff members whose projects and goals involve more complex production to explore the program. Okay wow that’s so stupid, sorry, let’s move on. “We think about it as building the biggest pie possible,” she said. The service launched in September 2019 to positive fanfare, but it took less than six months for some corners of the gaming press to harbor doubts about Apple Arcade’s commitment to its original value proposition. Within that same time frame, some Apple observers began noticing that the service wasn’t being marketed as prominently any more, and by June 2020, there was a Bloomberg report finding that Apple had started canceling development contracts with game studios and shifting its overall creative strategy, with the company finding that its initial premium approach had yielded a service that wasn’t able to keep its users coming back. Outside of Ted Lasso, I can’t really think of a solid breakout, though I did moderately enjoy The Morning Show, and yeah, of course I’ll watch Sofia Coppola’s latest, but the portfolio doesn’t feel like something that can match up against the deep libraries of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max or the gravitational pull of Disney+’s preexisting IP holdings just yet. Its complexity leads many folks to pay for coaching lessons in order to add “fluency in Pro Tools” to their resumes, thus edging out those who can’t afford such training. Apple Music’s programming is chiefly organized around one superstar talent, Zane Lowe, and there simply aren’t many planetary talents like that in podcasting. The Pro(Tools) and Cons of Audio Software

By Ari Bracci

As most listserv arguments do, it started with a simple question: “Best way to learn ProTools?”

Almost thirty email replies later, audio reporter Emily Guerin had stockpiled plenty of answers: LinkedIn Learning, private lessons, YouTube tutorials. “At a moment when I should have been open to examining our shortcomings and hearing out those who had concerns, I failed,” Barbaro wrote. It’s a literal key to the community — and will cost you another $49. It can also mean that the venture can simply opt for providing a better overall experience when it comes to interacting with on-demand audio in general. But the team has also consistently expressed a deep interest in further blurring the lines between the two formats. As you might notice, both Salt and CUNY are institutions that teach audio reporting. But if this theoretical Apple Podcasts+ is meant to be a standalone complement, not unlike how Apple Arcade stands separate from the rest of the games section of the Apple app store … sure, why not? Seems like a good way for companies to manage the tension between those two things, on top of being a nifty new habit-forming experience. Here’s Axios on the matter. On a related note… An Apple PR rep wrote in to tell me about Apple Podcasts Spotlight, a new monthly editorial feature on the platform meant to “celebrate rising podcast creators.” It should be visible on the platform sometime today. According to CNBC, the analyst note focused its attention on a lack of positive movement in terms of Spotify’s premium subscriber and app download counts, tying those metrics to its broader interpretation of whether Spotify was sufficient building a foundation of independence away from music labels. Pro Tools, an audio-editing software, is used ubiquitously in podcasting. Quick … Bites? First, it contains some new data snapshots suggesting that Spotify is materially heading in the right direction with its strategy, including the notable finding that Spotify is said to have “already converted more than 20% of its 320 million total users — about 70 million people globally — into podcast listeners.” And second, it reaffirms the central question about the platform: how, exactly, is all this supposed to lead to more money and greater profitability for a company that has historically been hamstrung in such areas due to its intertwined position with the music labels? Isaac Kestenbaum, director of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, teaches the software exclusively, precisely because he knows it’ll show up in jobs his students apply for. Meanwhile, other examples that can be evoked — whether it’s Stitcher Premium or Quake Media — seem largely limited in their respective achievements. Let’s be real — who am I to say anything about a trillion-dollar corporation housed in a spaceship?

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All of The Muppet Show Is Heading to Disney+

The Muppet Show. Disney+ says that it will also be releasing seasons four and five, which have never before been made available on home entertainment. You can sign up here. (If you subscribe to a service through our links, Vulture may earn an affiliate commission.)

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Muppets Now Brings the Golden Age of Muppetry Into the YouTube Era

Tags: “It’s going to be great to welcome back longtime fans and to give a new generation of fans a chance to see how we got our start, how Miss Piggy became a star, and so much more,” said Kermit the Frog said in a statement. “And as for Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys in the balcony, I can only add, ‘Sorry, guys, but … here we go again.”

Don’t have Disney+ yet? Photo: Disney+

Have we got the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational news for you. Per an announcement early this morning, all five seasons of Jim Henson’s beloved variety show, starring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and more, will be streaming to delight fans, young, old, and Muppet alike with its catchy tunes, a theme song you can’t get out of your head, hilarious sketch comedy, and — how could we forget? — its illustrious run of guest stars, including Julie Andrews, Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Alice Cooper, Bernadette Peters, Gene Kelly, and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The Muppet Show is really, truly coming exclusively to Disney+ on February 19.

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