Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 20 2014 1:26 PM

This $248 Denim Jumpsuit Is the Latest Example of a Horrible Fashion Tradition

The Sundance Catalog, as its founder Robert Redford puts it, sells “the kinds of things that we have been privileged to collect, many of them handcrafted exclusively for Sundance.” Named for Redford’s Utah resort and film festival—which were in turn named after his iconic role as the Sundance Kid—the catalog has been burnishing its particular vision of the American West since 1989. Its vision is now earnestly artisanal, grandly scenic, and vaguely Buddhist: high-cheekboned models in distressed leather jackets wear silver jewelry inscribed with sayings like “See Beauty” and “Infinite Love.” Like Redford himself, the Sundance West is both attractively weather-beaten and perfectly turned out. It knows how to build a fire and ride a horse bareback, but it’s innocent of guns, off-road vehicles, mine waste, clearcuts, and subdivisions.

The Sundance West looks, in short, like a pretty nice place, but I've never been able to find it.

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Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM

The Simpsons Pays Tribute to Stanley Kubrick and Gives Us Homer as Sterling Archer

Sunday night’s Treehouse of Horror XXV” episode of The Simpsons featured a section called “A Clockwork Yellow.” While the focus was, of course, on one Stanley Kubrick movie in particular, the writers worked in allusions to several of Kubrick’s films. You can watch a particularly reference-rich segment below, courtesy of Vulture.

Oct. 20 2014 12:33 PM

34 Years of Bono Posing Like Jesus

For three and a half decades, U2 has created a remarkable string of pop hits and best-selling albums, reinventing themselves more than once and trying new things again and again. But, perhaps inevitably for a band so big, they have come to seem out of touch: They appear to have sincerely believed that digitally injecting their new album into every iTunes in the world would be a welcome gift from a benevolent group of artists, rather than a creepy reminder that we’ve largely ceded control of our personal devices to the whims of corporate synergy.

The embodiment of all this, of course, is Bono, who has done genuinely good work in the world and yet whose self-appointed role as the world’s rock ’n’ roll messiah can seem, well, a bit much—never more so than when he is striking one of his favorite poses.

Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?

Next summer, Marvel Comics will reboot the 2006 Civil War storyline, in which a superhero registration law divides heroes into two camps: The pro-registration side, led by Iron Man, and the anti-registration side, led by Captain America. This coincides with news that Robert Downey Jr. will join Chris Evans in the upcoming Captain America 3 as a co-star, as part of a plan to bring Civil War to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For fans of comic books and superhero movies, this is a huge deal. Civil War transformed the status quo of Marvel Comics and set the stage for almost everything that followed in Marvel’s top-tier properties, including the creation of new Avengers teams (featuring Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, and Black Widow, all characters with rumored or forthcoming films), not to mention an alien invasion. Civil War will give Marvel a chance to reshape its film properties, deal with the departure of older stars, and continue the brand into the next decade.

Which is why it’s important the studio gets the story right, and doesn’t fall into the traps of the original Civil War. Because, for all of its importance to the brand, Civil War—or at least the main seven-issue limited series—is bad. Completely, unfathomably bad.

Oct. 19 2014 4:14 PM

“Building It Still” Is a Reminder of How Good and Thoughtful James Blake’s Music Can Be

James Blake, the British producer and singer-songwriter, is one of the most promising artists working today. Though only 26, his first two albums—James Blake and Overgrown—were stunningly mature entries that traded in a sound “somewhere between avant-garde dance music and blue-eyed soul.” Blake has been debuting some new tunes while in residency at BBC Radio 1, and the latest such song, “Building It Still,” is a particularly strong reminder of his talent.

Oct. 18 2014 5:28 PM

Virgin America Made a Bizarre, Boring, Six-Hour-Long Ad About One Horrible Flight

Have you been flying BLAH Airlines? That’s the conceit of one of the more absurd advertisements in recent memory—Virgin America’s six-hour-long, mind-numbingly boring look at what airline travel shouldn’t be.

Oct. 18 2014 2:46 PM

A Cover of Star Wars’ “Imperial March,” Played on Eight Floppy Disc Drives

On the heels of a full-length, fan-made version of The Empire Strikes Back comes another quirky homage to a galaxy far, far away—Anand Jain’s cover of Star Wars’ famous “Imperial March.” His instruments of choice? Eight floppy disc drives.

Oct. 18 2014 1:48 PM

Dave Chappelle Does Brilliant, Meandering Stand-Up for Four Whole Hours

Dave Chappelle loves stand-up. He’s had some unfortunate sets—last year’s brouhaha in Hartford, for example—but the comedian’s most biting and brilliant material has always come on stage. That’s amply evident in this 2009 gig, found by Splitsider, that features Chappelle performing for four whole hours at New York’s Comic Strip club.

Oct. 17 2014 4:27 PM

Spoiler Special: Dear White People

On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies—and the occasional TV show—in full, spoiler-filled detail. Below, staff writer Aisha Harris chats with Tanner Colby, about Dear White People, the hard-hitting feature debut of Justin Simien. Who, exactly, is the film meant to speak to? Does the film’s ambitious, multi-protagonist approach succeed? Does Simien show promise as a filmmaker?

Listen to them discuss these and other questions below.

Oct. 17 2014 3:49 PM

Bono Shares the Real Reason He Always Wears Sunglasses: Glaucoma

We’re probably all guilty of cracking a joke at Bono’s omnipresent sunglasses at least once or twice. They’ve been a fashion staple of the U2 frontman for two decades—and now we know why: In an appearance onThe Graham Norton Show, after being asked if he ever takes them off, Bono finally explained he wears them so much because he has glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause blindness. He has had it for the last 20 years.

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