Slate's Culture Blog

Jan. 27 2015 3:41 PM

Louis C.K.’s New Stand-Up Special Is Streaming Now. Here’s How to Watch It.

On Monday night, Louis C.K. was forced to cancel his latest show at Madison Square Garden due to the forecasted (and ultimately overhyped) blizzard: “I’m not one to defy future historic events,” he joked in an email to fans. Buried in that same email, C.K. also announced a stand-up special to be “historically available” on his website “very soon.” As promised, today he’s released Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store, and you can download or stream it now.

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Jan. 27 2015 3:16 PM

It Is 2015 and Some Crazy Blink-182 Drama Is Happening

Something is rotten in the kingdom of pop-punk. After a tense, several-hour-long volley of announcements and denials yesterday, Blink-182 members Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus confirmed to Rolling Stone that the group's third member, Tom DeLonge, had "indefinitely" left the band.  He will be replaced by Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba for an upcoming appearance at the Musink festival, which is co-owned by Barker.

The band initially announced the split by a press release to The announcement was then denied by DeLonge on his Instagram account, only to be reaffirmed by Hoppus and Barker in the rather scathing Rolling Stone interview. In that piece, the bandmates describe a stilted reunion and subsequent break-up that sounds equal parts confusing and sad: According to Barker, the decision to get back together in 2009 felt perfunctory, and maybe only happened "because I almost died." (Barker was involved in a plane crash in 2008). After then deciding to record new music, the group spent two years shopping around for a label at DeLonge's insistence. When they found one, they say they received an email from DeLonge's manager (Barker and Hoppus say they haven't spoken to DeLonge in months) notifying them that "Tom. Is. Out." The remaining Blinks describe DeLonge as "disrespectful and ungrateful," express relief to finally be publicly rid of his equivocation, and convey an air of weariness and melancholy that feels tragically at odds with a band as silly and frivolous (but still totally enjoyable) as Blink-182.


Hoppus and Barker confirm they remain committed to playing the Musink festival, and that they just want to "go out and play Blink songs" without it getting too "lawyer-ey." Perhaps this isn't the worst possible outcome for an aging pop-punk act. At least Blink hasn't split into two competing touring bands (like whatever is going on with Black Flag right now). And perhaps, with Skirba on board, it can morph into some kind of supergroup (Blinkaline 180-trio?) that discards the overly-whiney songs of its predecessors. Plus, free from the burden of Blink, DeLonge now has time to focus on his "non-musical endeavors," which presumably means updating his alien-abduction conspiracy website.

Jan. 27 2015 12:20 PM

Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright on the Challenges of Making a Doc About Scientology

Alex Gibney’s documentary version of Lawrence Wright’s Scientology exposé Going Clear has been one of the talks of the Sundance Film Festival. After the premiere, we asked the director and author what it was like to investigate the group and produce a film version of the book. They said the many legal threats against them don’t compare to what some former Scientology members have faced. Watch the conversation below.

Jan. 27 2015 12:16 PM

Everything That’s Happened Around Adnan Syed’s Case Since Serial Premiered: A Timeline

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Part of the strange intimacy of Serial comes from the knowledge that the murder-mystery at the podcast’s heart took place in the real world. Its players aren’t drawing-room inventions; they’re real people with real lives. But that also means that once the story stops, they don’t. Their lives go on and on. Vulture has spent months detailing the new events in the Adnan Syed case that happen outside of the podcast’s official narrative. Here they are now, in one easily readable (and constantly updated) timeline.

Jan. 27 2015 11:23 AM

Watch the First Trailer for Fantastic Four, Starring Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan

Gazing deeply into the recesses of your subconscious you glimpse a fleeting memory. You use all of your  mental energy to draw it into focus. Slowly, hazily, it takes the shape of … a casting notice: “Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan to Star in Fantastic Four Reboot.” And though the idea had faded, perhaps obscured by thoughts of Suicide Squads and Untitled DC Film (2019), here evidence appears to prove it was not some deluded fantasy, but a good and true reflection of tangible reality. A teaser trailer for Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, set to open in June:

Jesting about superhero franchise crowding aside, this version of Fantastic Four looks promising. The cast is exciting, with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan stepping up into the blockbuster lead roles they seemed destined for after building indie steam in films like Whiplash and Fruitvale Station, respectively. Teller will play Mr. Fantastic, with Jordan as the Human Torch, Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, and Jaime Bell as the Thing. Director Josh Trank has proved a capable director of interesting superhero films with his widely praised 2012 found-footage superpowers film Chronicle. And most importantly: Fantastic Four is one of Marvel Comics longest running and most beloved properties, and the team’s origin story has tremendous potential for familial drama, screwball humor, and sick action sequences. It will also be interesting to watch Fox’s continued attempts to compete against Marvel with their own properties. Though we mostly see and hear vague, Neil deGrasse Tyson-like paeans to the virtues of scientific inquiry in this teaser, it’s still a welcome reminder of what’s to come.

Jan. 27 2015 9:04 AM

Shameik Moore on the Significance of Dope in the Wake of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown

Check out all Slate’s interviews from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

In Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope, high schooler Malcolm (Shameik Moore) struggles with reconciling being a nerd while living in the rough neighborhood of Inglewood, California. One of the most impassioned moments of the film comes towards the end, when Malcolm reads aloud his college essay for Harvard—a scene that resonates in a particularly timely manner in the wake of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

All this week, Brow Beat is doing interviews from the Sundance Film Festival, and we asked Moore about how Dope fits into the current conversation on race in America.

Jan. 27 2015 8:02 AM

When Will Downton Abbey’s Miss Bunting Mind Her Manners? We Discuss the Latest Episode.

Each week, Slate culture critic and Outward editor June Thomas will join frequent contributor Seth Stevenson to dissect the latest developments on the new season of Downton Abbey.

In this installment of the podcast, Thomas and Stevenson discuss Miss Bunting’s lack of social grace, Lady Mary’s trail of broken hearts, and how the Dowager Countess continues to surprise us this season.


Spoilers for Episodes 4 to 9 will be made available to Slate Plus members on Sundays at 10 p.m. Eastern, at the conclusion of the PBS broadcast—and to non-members on Tuesdays morning. (Want early access? Join Slate Plus!)

Note: As the name implies, this podcast contains spoilers, and is meant to be listened to after you watch each episode.

Jan. 27 2015 7:05 AM

Director Craig Zobel on Faith vs. Science in His New Post-Apocalyptic Drama

Check out all Slate’s interviews from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

In director Craig Zobel’s science fiction drama Z for Zachariah, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine play the sole known survivors of a nuclear holocaust. While working to survive within the last remaining habitable territory, the three strangers must also navigate the uneasy tension that arises within their relationships with each other.

Screenwriter Nissar Modi loosely adapted the script from Robert C. O’Brien’s 1974 novel of the same name, adding Pine’s character Caleb and giving the story a more contemporary spin. We asked Zobel about Caleb’s role in the narrative, the conflict between religion and science at the end of the world, and the experience of shooting in the vast expanses of New Zealand.

Jan. 26 2015 8:35 PM

What Sundance Favorite Going Clear Tells Us About Scientology

In 2012, New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright published a masterful profile of Oscar-winning director and former Scientologist Paul Haggis. That piece, along with three years of reporting, became Going Clear, Wright’s searing, best-selling book on Scientology and its cultish leader, David Miscavige. Director Alex Gibney has now adapted Wright’s book into a documentary of the same name, and, according to the first reviews trickling in from Sundance, it’s a revelatory account of the religion’s inner workings.

So what, exactly, does the film tell us about Scientology? Not much new, if you’ve read Wright’s book. For those who haven’t, we’ve done a roundup of some of the more striking allegations:

Jan. 26 2015 6:21 PM

Slash Discusses His Favorite Horror Movies and Directors

Check out all Slate’s interviews from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Slash may be best known as the guitarist for Guns N' Roses, but the musician has another passion as well: Horror films. He has a couple of producing credits under his belt—including 2013’s Nothing Left to Fear—and while in town for the Sundance Film Festival, stopped by to chat with us about his love for the genre and his favorite horror directors.