The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
When you think of the funding shortfalls in the once-majestic University of California system, you might think of “gigantic” tuition increases or the system’s only observatory being defunded. But what you probably didn’t know is that, according to the regents, one of the “injustices” in the 10-campus system is the embarrassingly low pay of its three “worst”-paid chancellors, all of whom take in more than $300,000 per year. This comes on the heels of a report by the system’s finance executives that, according to theSan Francisco Chronicle, years of budget crises have meant that “UC lacks the funds to keep the student-faculty ratio from rising, replace aging technology,” and “close salary gaps for faculty and staff.” But comfort yourselves in the knowledge that every chancellor in California has been raised from the depths of pretty rich to really quite rich.
Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
On Saturday night, HBO aired a concert film presenting the complete experience of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s gargantuan On the Run tour, as filmed at the tour’s closing dates in Paris on Sept. 12 and 13. As promised, the special featured a number of show-stopping hits from both artists’ catalogs, risqué film noir-style interludes, and lots of slow-mo. But, as anyone who experienced the tour live will tell you, they save arguably the show’s best moment for its finale: As Beyoncé and Jay Z perform a nice mash-up of “Young Forever” and “Halo,” never-before-seen footage from their engagement, their wedding, and the birth of their daughter plays in the background.
Kern Your Enthusiasm: In Defense of Comic Sans
I understand the problem. For a while, Comic Sans was everywhere. Things get overused and then they’re played out. People get excited about a thing and it’s briefly cool and then it’s tired, forever. Design matters and this isn’t great design. Having preferences, aligning with other people who share those preferences and spurning people who don’t align with those preferences is a big part of how we create our social identity. The font could be more elegant. It could, objectively, be better at being a font.
The Age of the Streaming TV Auteur
There’s a memorable story in Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures, a great history of the 1990s indie-film boom, in which an upstart production company, eager to establish its bona fides, promises an absurd amount of money and unheard-of creative control to an in-demand filmmaker with a suddenly hot property to sell. The year is 1989, the company is Miramax, the filmmaker is a then-26-year-old Steven Soderbergh, the property is sex, lies & videotape, and the result was a renaissance. In the ’90s, startling, innovative, and personal films—by directors like Quentin Tarantino, Hal Hartley, Allison Anders, and Whit Stillman—flourished, buoyed by a new marketplace, and a hungry audience, that happily rewarded daring and creativity.
Twenty-five years after sex, lies & videotape, it’s hard not to think of a similar scenario that played out much more recently but on a very different screen: Netflix buying the rights to the show House of Cards. Netflix won that series essentially by offering two seasons, up front, guaranteed—a bid that was both fundamentally insane yet absolutely necessary for the company to establish itself as a legitimate competitor to HBO, Showtime, AMC, and so on. Four Emmy wins and one Golden Globe later, Netflix is no longer looking like the late entrant to the cable-drama sweepstakes but the early adopter among Internet content companies, many of which are now angling to become producers of original programming. Earlier this year, Yahoo commissioned two TV-style original comedies; Vimeo has acquired the critically acclaimed web series High Maintenance; and Amazon, having already unleashed the exceptional comedy Transparent, launched an additional five new pilots—including, tellingly, The Cosmopolitans, from ’90s indie auteur Whit Stillman.
South Park Takes on Washington’s NFL Team and Its Terrible Name
It was only a matter of time before the satirists of South Park devoted an episode to the name-change controversy surrounding Washington’s NFL team. (Slate stopped using the team’s official name last year.) Season 18 premieres this week, and as this new promo reveals, no punches will be pulled on the matter.
Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Looks like some truth finally popped out of the ever-churning True Detective rumor mill: Colin Farrell has confirmed that he will star in the show’s second season.
Watch Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey Do a Second City Sketch in 1997
One of my favorite online projects is Splitsider’s Second City Archives, which unearths clips of today’s comedy stars when they were young, brimming with potential, and still honing their skills at Chicago’s iconic comedy club. The series’ latest find is a charming skit from 1997, “Grandma’s Records,” which stars Rachel Dratch as a manic nun and Tina Fey as some musical accompaniment.
“The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Dear White People, Justin Simien’s forthcoming satire on black student experiences in a predominantly white college, is expected to be a sharp and stimulating exploration of racial dynamics. Now the team behind the movie has released a series of comedic PSAs called “The More You Know (About Black People)” that fulfills a similar purpose: the series is comprised of a handful of clips—ten in all—that hilariously tackle some common stereotypes about black people.
Julian Casablancas’ New Album Sounds Like the Furthest Thing From the Strokes
Julian Casablancas has kept busy since his underrated solo debut, Phrazes for the Young—he’s reunited with the Strokes, teamed up with Daft Punk, and founded his own record label. Now his new band, the Voidz, has released their wildly ambitious debut album, Tyranny, which is available for streaming.
You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Sbtrkt will release his much awaited sophomore album, Wonder Where We Land. If that name (which he styles SBTRKT) doesn’t immediately call to mind any of his work, now is the best time to get familiar with the masked London producer who’s received praise from the likes of Thom Yorke, Diplo, and Drake. Because if the reception of his second album is anything like the reaction to his 2011 self-titled debut, Sbtrkt seems likely to earn a place alongside the best of his generation of British electronic artists, with acts like James Blake, Jamie xx, and Disclosure.
Though Aaron Jerome (the man behind the Sbtrkt mask) got his start as a nu-jazz artist, prior to 2010 he was a virtual unknown outside of a small corner of SoundCloud. It was on his SoundCloud page that he uploaded “Timeless,” an ethereal mash-up of two Goldie songs that, along with subsequent remixes, soon attracted the attention of BBC radio DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, who invited him on her show for an impressive 16-minute guest mix. It was around that time that Jerome started to develop his chameleonic sound and construct Sbtrkt’s elusive persona: He recruited A Hidden Place to design his artwork and the tribal masks with which he’s so firmly associated himself. At the same time, he began working on tracks with DJ Graeme Sinden (of The Count & Sinden) as well as his future Young Turks labelmate Sampha, then an up-and-coming vocalist and producer (Sampha is now best known for his work with Drake).