The Sound of Music Live Was Borderline Unprofessional. Also: Terrific.
NBC’s live version of The Sound of Music, which aired for three long hours last night, began slow and beautiful, with nuns singing hymns in a stage set abbey. Based on the stage musical—and not the Julie Andrews movie adaptation beloved and memorized by millions (myself included)—the opening took me by surprise, and not just because I was expecting to see Carrie Underwood whirling around in a meadow while belting out “The Hills Are Alive.” (She did scurry around a wood doing that, one scene later.) It was just so anti-spectacular, so stately and calm, patient and slow. The rhythm did something to my brain, tapping into old, creaky pleasure circuits, ones I almost wore out as a kid watching musicals—and especially Mary Martin’s Peter Pan—on VHS, but haven’t used for years.
The Media Have Always Misunderstood Nigella Lawson
For the past few weeks, British tabloids have tirelessly covered the trial of two assistants accused of embezzling money from their bosses. On the surface, this topic doesn’t necessarily seem worthy of a media circus—unscrupulous workers steal from their employers every day. What makes this trial different is that the assistants worked for Nigella Lawson, the cookbook author and television personality, and Charles Saatchi, Lawson’s ex-husband, who was photographed choking Lawson earlier this year. (The couple divorced shortly after the photographs were made public.)
The story is undoubtedly salacious (albeit complicated).
“It Is Music and Dancing That Makes Me at Peace With the World”
In the 1980s, a number of musicians raised their voices to call for the freedom of Nelson Mandela. (The fight against apartheid, as the documentary Amandla! highlighted, was waged partly with music.) The most famous of these protest songs, in the U.S. at least, is probably 1984’s “(Free) Nelson Mandela” by the Specials, which reached no. 9 on the U.K. charts and helped to make Mandela’s cause more widely known in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Watch a New Concert Film From Nine Inch Nails
After their music, these might be the two things Nine Inch Nails are known for most: Giving away material for free, and touring with light shows that put other bands to shame. Today, they’re showing off a little bit of both. If you missed their 2013 Tension tour, you can now watch an 80-minute concert documentary filmed at their Nov. 8 show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to showing off their latest mind-boggling light show (it really builds as it goes), the film also features live versions of several songs revamped for the tour.
When Dylan Read From “The Waste Land”
Josh Jones at Open Culture flags this fan-made video featuring a snippet of Bob Dylan’s dearly departed Theme Time Radio Hour (2006–09). Dylan introduces T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” by saying it “commemorated the death of Abraham Lincoln.” Jones sees this as Dylan noting Eliot’s debt to Walt Whitman, specifically “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” which does actually meditate on the death of Lincoln.
How Does Inside Llewyn Davis Compare to the Coens’ Best Movies?
Rewatching all the Coen brothers’ movies a couple years ago, I was impressed—though not surprised—by the stylistic unity of their work, evident in ways both large and small. Most of their movies are about men with little power who are buffeted by bad luck, worse enemies, and terrible decision-making. And 12 of their 15 films feature scenes of powerful men sitting behind big desks.
Make that 13 of 16: Inside Llewyn Davis is unquestionably a Coen brothers work, as anyone who’s seen just the trailer can tell.
Your Favorite Holiday Movies All in One Convenient Supercut
If, like me, you’re a lover of holiday movies, but can’t seem to find the time to watch every single one of your favorites before the year is up, “The Ultimate Christmas Movie” is a nice, festive supplement.
Created by the folks at Screen Junkies, this fun supercut mashes up memorable moments from a wide range of films, including A Christmas Story, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. It may not replicate the joy of watching your favorite films in their entirety, but if you have only three minutes to spare, it’ll do.
Jay Z Is Going Vegan for 22 Days. Is This Good for Veganism?
Earlier this week, Jay Z made an important announcement on his website: “On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!!” Hova joins a long roster of celebrities—Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zooey Deschanel—who have temporarily forsaken all animal products. Perhaps in part because of its most visible advocates, veganism retains an aura of girliness—real men, according to a persistent and stupid stereotype, eat meat. But unlike most famous vegans, Jay Z has machismo to burn. Could Jay’s decision to go vegan for a few weeks be an effective antidote to veganism’s effete image?
Maybe, but probably not.
Australian Comic Defines “Reverse Racism”
Should We Be Impressed by Silicon Valley’s New Egg Substitute?
A startup called Beyond Eggs, fronted by an enthusiastic founder named Joshua Tetrick, has been making headlines lately—most recently in a Mother Jones article that asks, without beating around the bush, “Can Silicon Valley Make Fake Meat and Eggs That Don’t Suck?” My former colleague Farhad Manjoo has also profiled the company, whose goal is to engineer products that mimic chicken eggs’ every culinary function. (Tetrick says there are 22 of them, to be exact.)
Tetrick’s goal isn’t just to appeal to people who are trying to reduce their meat and dairy intake—it’s to shake up processed food by giving food scientists a cheaper, shelf-stable, humane alternative to chicken eggs. “This isn't just going to happen in San Francisco, in a world of vegans,” he told Mother Jones’ Sydney Brownstone. “This is going to happen in Birmingham, Alabama. This is going to happen in Missouri, in Philadelphia.”