In Season 5 of Community, Jeff Can’t Leave Greendale Behind, Apparently
In a surprise twist earlier this year, Community was renewed for a fifth season, with the majority of the remaining cast members on board for the entire run (Donald Glover excepted), as well as previously ousted show runner Dan Harmon. When we last left the study group, Jeff (Joel McHale) had finally graduated from Greendale Community College, and the new trailer for the upcoming season gives us a hint as to how the show might attempt to accommodate this new development—namely, by making him a teacher.
Chance the Rapper Gets a Big Break From Justin Bieber. Hear “Confident.”
Chance the Rapper has spent the last few months quietly blowing up. After releasing Acid Rap this spring, he’s made guest appearances on tracks by the likes of James Blake, Childish Gambino, and Lil Wayne, and last week Spin gave the mixtape a well-earned No. 2 spot on their list of the albums of the year. Back in August, the 20-year-old Chicago rapper even placed on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart, just because so many people were selling his free mixtape without permission.
But today Chance gets what might be his biggest break yet, from one of R&B’s biggest stars. I’m talking, of course, about Justin Bieber.
Have a Lo-Fi Christmas With Dr. Dog
When the holiday season rolls around, I always keep an ear out for new Christmas songs—or old ones that I haven’t already heard a million times and which don’t get played to death this time of year. “Joy” by Tracey Thorn, say, or “Jesus Christ” by Big Star.
St. Vincent Is Back With a New Album. Hear “Birth in Reverse.”
Music fans and critics might be busy looking back on the year in music this week, but St. Vincent has me already looking forward to 2014. On Twitter this morning she announced her self-titled major label debut, her follow-up to her 2012 collaboration with David Byrne, and shared the first new track off the album, “Birth in Reverse.”
Fans worried that working with a major label may lead Annie Clark to sweeten up her sound can be reassured by “Birth in Reverse.” Over frantic drumming, fuzzed-out bass, and jagged riffs on her electric guitar, Clark sticks to her usual feisty, swaggering lyrics: “Oh what an ordinary day/ Take out the garbage, masturbate/ …I’m still holdin’ for the laugh,” she begins.
Minecraft, the Opera
One of the most influential software programs of all time is now an opera, too: OPERAcraft was conceived by Ariana Wyatt and Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech, and carried out with K-12 students, who wrote the libretto with the help of an English professor. The whole thing was scored to Mozart and performed (and livestreamed) last week. Enjoy.
How You Know You’re a Grown-Up: You Look Forward to Cabbage
Dinner vs. Child is a biweekly column about cooking for children, and with children, and despite children, originally published on Food52 and now appearing on Brow Beat.
Today: Nicholas convinces us that tender, oven-braised cabbage can surprise us all. Even our children.
There is no vegetable more ascetic than the cabbage.
There are vegetables that are more infamous (broccoli, Brussels sprouts). There are vegetables that are more alien (kohlrabi, celery root). There are vegetables that are more likely to make you think, Wait, who bought this anyway (turnips, rutabaga).
But there is no vegetable that bespeaks moral purity like cabbage.
A Video of “Sketchy Santas” Confirms That Certain Christmas Traditions Are Weird
Allowing your child to sit on the lap of an old man—often a complete stranger—so that he or she can ask for gifts is kind of a weird tradition. Sometimes it can be cute, but more often than not, it can be really uncomfortable, to say the least.
And that’s what the Sketchy Santas page once fed off of, featuring photos of random Santas looking, well, sketchy. Though the original site has not been updated in some time, Atlantic editor Derek Thompson recently tweeted this great video from a few years back that is worth revisiting on this late holiday-season Friday afternoon.
Created by Coty Gonzales, the video compiles many of the photos from the site and scores them to a hilariously awful rendition of “O Holy Night.” Gonzales credited the singer as “amzing yet unknown,” but several years back Fred McKinnon published a six-part story recounting the origins of the recording (and his own efforts to track them down).
You Really Should See the New Mandela Movie
Though it has already broken box-office records in South Africa, the new biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has gotten mostly middling reviews, or worse. Scott Tobias of the Dissolve wrote that this “dull, glossy, and uncomplicated film” provides “a lesson in how not to make a historical biopic.” Writing in Variety, Scott Foundas called it “stolidly reverential, shackled to the most dire conventions of the mythmaking biopic, and very much a white man’s view of the ‘dark’ continent.” Even the closest it got to a rave, from Stephen Holden of the New York Times, focused mainly on the film’s universally praised pair of central performances: Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as his second wife, Winnie.
But a day after the great man’s death at age 95, there’s a case to be made that, for people newly interested in Mandela’s life and times, you could do worse than Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. (Much worse.) Yes, the film makes the obtuse error of trying to cram his entire extraordinary life—and by extension South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and its revolutionary transition to majority rule, both of which have become nearly synonymous with Mandela—into a feature-length running time. And yes, it commits all manner of petty biopic crimes, from entombing its star in old-age makeup to blasting Bono over the credits.
Where the film is strongest, though, is in its depiction of Mandela’s early adult life and the years immediately preceding his imprisonment on Robben Island.
The Secrets of the Sound of The Wire
When sound editing is done right, that usually means the viewer will never notice it. This is especially true of shows that value realism, like The Wire.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to notice. In a recent thread on Reddit, Jennifer Ralston, who served as the supervising sound editor for most of The Wire’s five-season run, broke down some of the easy-to-miss emotional cues and subtextual motifs that she and her team incorporated into the soundscape of show.
David Simon didn’t want to manipulate the audience with a score, she explained. “He’s the guy who, if he did write a sit-com, would not allow a studio audience or laugh track,” she wrote. So Ralston’s job was to work mood and meaning into the show’s background noise and atmospherics, in a way almost no one would consciously notice. She gave several examples of how she and her team slipped in these hidden touches, which we’re presenting alongside clips of the scenes below.
Behind the Helmets: The Story of Daft Punk’s Headgear
Despite their ever-increasing popularity, French electronic duo Daft Punk has managed to appear in public almost exclusively in their distinctive, futuristic helmets, a key element of their robot personae. The intricately designed headgear is profiled in a new documentary, “Behind the Helmets,” which explores the inspiration for the disguises created for Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter.
It’s a quick watch that nevertheless goes in depth enough to demonstrate just how much effort goes into concealing their identities, and fans will certainly appreciate its various tidbits about the duo.