Slate's Culture Blog
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 6:18 PM
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon
Photo by © 2013 - Relativity Media
When Don Jon’s Addiction, the pornography-themed directorial debut of the affable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, debuted at Sundance earlier this year, the reviews were quite positive. As Tim Wu reported for Slate, the audience swooned, and the performer’s well-regarded persona appeared to remain intact for his first feature-length turn behind the camera.
The trailer is finally here—now with the curiously shortened title, Don Jon—and it’s easy to see why the response to the film has been so positive: it looks like a genuinely good time.Read More »
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 6:02 PM
Brow Beat is following the Beatles in “real time,” 50 years later, from their first chart-topper to their final rooftop concert. 50 years ago this month, the Beatles went on tour with one of their idols, Roy Orbison.
According to Roy Orbison, when he was first asked by Brian Epstein to tour England with the Beatles, he responded, “What’s a Beatle?” Orbison was fresh off hits like “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” and “In Dreams,” and his popularity was rising fast in the U.K., but he wasn’t yet used to Mersey Beat bands with such goofy names. It was his first U.K. tour, and, as Orbison later recalled, he didn’t know what to expect. But the president of the Roy Orbison Fan Club wrote him a letter, explaining that touring with the Beatles would be terrific for him. They were No. 1 in England, Orbison’s fan explained, and would get him more exposure. There was, at first, no doubt about who the headliner would be.
The Beatles certainly knew who Orbison was. He was one of their greatest idols, and Lennon had modeled their first No. 1 on “Only the Lonely.” Later, when the Beatles were photographed with Orbison, Ringo, in particular, looked more than a little excited to be with him.
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 5:23 PM
Was Liberace really that great of a piano man?
In Behind the Candelabra, the first time we encounter Michael Douglas’ Liberace is, naturally, on stage, treating his Vegas audience to a little bit of the boogie-woogie. He deftly carries the jaunty rhythmic bass line in his left hand while adding the melodic riff in his right between bouts of patter with the audience. And if you didn’t think talking and playing (and grinning) at the same time was impressive enough, how about that little “experiment,” as Liberace puts it, where he effortlessly plays the tune double-time—you know, 16 beats to the bar instead of 8?
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 4:08 PM
What has Steven Soderbergh been up to since supposedly retiring from movie directing? In addition to diagnosing Hollywood with a dire illness, he’s been designing T-shirts.
The T-shirts, which are on sale on his new website Extension 765, are movie-inspired, each one bearing a film reference on the front. (The site’s name is itself a nod to a line spoken by Harrison Ford’s character in The Conversation each time he answers the phone.) While designing the shirts, Soderbergh told Reuters, “I would test them out by wearing them to the set to see if people knew the movie references.”
This immediately led us to test ourselves and seek out the corresponding films. (An impulse unsurprisingly shared by others.) Some of these references are fairly obvious to the casual pop culture enthusiast, while others are so obscure that even the nerdiest of cinephiles may have a tough time remembering where they first saw them. You can quiz yourself below, but scroll slowly: The answers are below each image.Read More »
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 3:10 PM
The new music video by The Lonely Island, an amusing riff on hashtag rap called “Semicolon,” leads to one big punch line: These men praising semicolons have—spoiler alert—confused the frequently debated punctuation mark for its less controversial cousin, the colon.
In addition to their trouble with semicolons, the songwriters apparently have a problem with apostrophes: “a bulls nut” should read “a bull’s nut,” and “boys vest” likewise should probably read “boy’s vest.” Then there are the typos: Gretzky is misspelled the second time it appears; Macchio is misspelled in its one and only appearance.
Perhaps these smaller errors are just a subtle part of the joke? Or maybe the comedy supergroup should throw some of its hard-earned cash at a few copy editors. They should do that anyway, given their obvious love of punctuation humor.
Update, 4 p.m.: Commenter Brian Bunton notes another error in the video: “everyday” should be “every day.”
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 1:51 PM
Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
The American Chemical Society has a video series called Bytesize Science, and their latest episode provides an answer to one of life’s essential mysteries: Why does orange juice taste so bad after you brush your teeth?
Apparently, the sodium lauryl sulfate that helps the toothpaste create suds in your mouth also messes with your taste receptors. Or, at least, that is the “most widely accepted explanation,” according to this video. Now I’m off to look up the other theories.
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 9:02 AM
Photo by Katherine Bomboy-Thornton – © ABC.
I got hooked on Nashville fairly early in the season, unable to resist Callie Khouri’s richly drawn dramatic universe and T-Bone Burnett’s insanely catchy tunes—not to mention Connie Britton’s effortless likeability as Rayna and Hayden Panettiere’s tightly wound dynamism as Juliette.
But the show’s third fair-haired songstress, Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen), made me feel twitchy the very first time she appeared onscreen. Whereas Rayna and Juliette struck me as plausible human beings, Scarlett struck me as a type: a hyper-feminine ingénue who sticks with her obviously horrible boyfriend, Avery (Jonathan Jackson), because she’s infinitely open-hearted and trusting. And Bowen’s thick-as-molasses accent and slack-jawed manner rubbed me the wrong way—it seemed like the Australian actress was conflating being Southern with being infantile.
In short, Scarlett drove me bonkers.Read More »
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 8:33 AM
The poached egg is a delicious and elegant treat, as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue. Yet it is also the Boo Radley of the egg family: seldom seen, misunderstood, wrongly feared. I’m less concerned about the mistakes people make poaching eggs than I am with the mistake of not poaching eggs at all. If you’re already poaching at home, you’re doing something right.
I’m not sure why so many people find poached eggs intimidating, but it’s a shame, because if you can boil water and crack an egg, you’re 90 percent there. Perhaps it’s the name. Everyone knows what boiling, frying, and scrambling mean, but poaching sounds forbiddingly exotic. (It comes from the old French poche, meaning “pouch,” which refers to the way the white envelops the yolk.) Perhaps people are scared off by the idea that you have to create a little whirlpool in your saucepan before adding your egg. (That technique works, but it means you can only cook one egg at a time, and it’s totally unnecessary.)Read More »
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 1:56 PM
Of course, there are even more movies and shows he could have drawn from, as various YouTube commenters have noted. Klock says he is working on another cut. What else should he include?
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 11:46 AM
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
When he’s not busy writing female-empowered anthems for Beyoncé—as well as hits for Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Britney Spears—the producer and songwriter The-Dream occasionally writes tunes for himself, usually about sex, love, and also sex. His newest album, IV Play, as you can probably guess from the title, is very much in keeping with his body of work thus far.
Featuring collaborations with the likes of 2-Chainz and Jay-Z, the album once again has The-Dream crooning raunchy lyrics over catchy beats. “Equestrian” elaborates on Ginuwine’s classic horse-riding-as-sex metaphor; you can probably guess the subject matter of the subtly titled “Pussy.” Mrs. Carter herself even shows up to assist with vocals on the mid-tempo “Turnt,” returning the favor after years of singing The-Dream’s songs with great success. You can stream the album in full below.Read More »