Author Archives: nyupopculture

Golden Globes 2014 Announced, but do Stars Actually Care?

The 2014 Golden Globe Award nominations were announced this morning, and while some may find that said nominations are spot on, it will be another ceremony that literally no one will care about, least of all the entertainers that are nominated.

 The Golden Globe Awards proves itself every year  to be a confounding ceremony. Every aspect of it that’s potentially positive is conversely negative. 2013 was an unbelievable season for films. If you were to tell me that I had to choose between the devastatingly beautiful brutality of 12 Years a Slave over the visionary and timely Her, I’d be chagrined.

 In a year like this, the Golden Globes separating their film nominations by comedy and drama is beneficial, potentially being able to award two of the best movies of the year. You look at the best actor category this year and you’ll be faced with half a dozen deserving winners. So by separating Best Actor in a Comedy from Best Actor in a Drama, the Golden Globes are able to show the love to ten different deserving people. Often they even pick the films that should have won the Oscar, like in 2006 when Brokeback Mountain rightfully won over Crash.

 But this same set up backfires as much as it works. Take 2011, a year in which Alexander Payne’s the Descendents won best picture, despite the fact that it was a dramedy and in accordance with their other nominations, a pick for Best Picture-Musical or Comedy. That same year they nominated The Tourist, a despicable Johnny Depp film that few saw and all hated, especially critics, for Best Picture-Musical or Comedy. The film was never advertised as funny, wasn’t funny and the members of the foreign press were later accused of being bribed by The Tourist camp. Deplorable.

 No matter what the argument, the fact remains that the Golden Globe Awards are just not cared about that much, merely a halfway stop to the Oscars where the press can take pictures and stars can dazzle the red carpet and make some nice acceptance speeches. No preview will ever announce their star as “Johnny Depp: Golden Globe Award Winner” but they will sound off on his Oscar nomination.

 Alas, the Globes are fun, almost having become a way to for Hollywood to roast itself. They are gaudy, expensive and over-wrought with a host like Gervais to spew bile all over the entertainers.  Film blogger Ross Jones-Morris says, “The Golden Globes is criticised for being a big party for rich people to meet rich people so they hire a presenter to kind of lampoon that,  They’re basically airing their flaws to get better viewer ratings.”

 The Golden Globes, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will be on January 12, 2014. While the awards may be inconsequential, you can still have some fun watching. Here are your nominations.

Best Picture Comedy

American Hustle
The Wolf of Wall Street
Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Picture Drama

12 Years a SlaveCaptain Phillips

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave 
Alexander Payne, Nebraska 
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Actress Drama

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine 
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena 
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Best Actress Comedy

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight 
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha 
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Actor Drama

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actor Musical or Comedy

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
June Squibb, Nebraska 
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Foreign Language Film

Blue Is the Warmest ColorThe Hunt The Past The Great Beauty The Wind Rises

Best Animated Film

The CroodsDespicable Me 2Frozen

Best Original Song

Altas, The Hunger Games 
Let it Go, Frozen
Ordinary Love,Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy, Inside Llewyn Davis
Sweeter than Fiction, One Chance

Best Original Score

All is LostMandela: Long Walk to FreedomGravityThe Book Thief12 Years a Slave

Best Screenplay

Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena 
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle


Best Television Series Drama

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex

Best Television Series Comedy

The Big Bang TheoryBrooklyn Nine-NineGirlsModern FamilyParks and Recreation

Best Actress in a Television Series Drama

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Actor in a Television

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
James Spader, The Blacklist

Best Actress in a Television Series Comedy

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best Actor in a Television Series Comedy

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show
Jim Parson, The Big Bang Theory
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Supporting Actress Television

Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge
Janet McTeer, The White Queen
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Best Supporting Actor Television

Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Corey Stoll, House of Cards

Best Television Miniseries or Movie

American Horror Story: Coven
Behind the Candelabra 
Dancing on the EdgeTop of the Lake
The White Queen

Best Actor in a Television Miniseries or Movie

Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Best Actress in a Television Miniseries of Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor 
Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake 
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector

by Adam Lehrer


Album Review: “Like A Stranger” by Kitten


Chloe Chaidez of the band Kitten in their new video for “Like A Stranger”

Kitten’s third EP, released in August, seduces with a decidedly unchild-like force. Lead singer Chloe Chaidez alternately serenades with a sexy, whisper-soft croon and cries out with a release so potent that she must be cracking ribs. Although her heavy sound says otherwise, Chaidez hasn’t seen the far side of 18 and she is backed by four gangly boys freshly graduated from high school. At live shows, she struts around the stage, tossing her mop of brown hair across her round cheeks, head banging and stomping like the music is too much to contain inside her tiny frame.

Chaidez has been on the music scene since she was thirteen years old, fronting her own eighties cover band (Wild Youth) before starting Kitten. Her first Kitten EP, Sunday School, was released when she was 15 years old. She lives in Pasadena, a town known for its rose parade not its music scene, but she gets her music pedigree from her father, Mike Chaidez, the former drummer of Thee Undertakers (a band big on the East L.A. punk scene in the eighties.)

Kitten’s sound evokes the eighties, but it’s much less her father’s punk than it is synthpop, featuring keyboards, sound loops, cascading drums, and operatic vocals. The teens have opened for big name groups with similar new wave roots, like Band of Horses, Paramore, and The Joy Formidable.

Chaidez’ voice has that iconic resonance of Annie Lennox or Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. She exercises her with raspy depth and vaulting screams in the title song “Like A Stranger.” The song’s chorus has the kind of anthemic power that makes you want to grab your hairbrush, your showerhead or whatever is on hand, pretend it’s a microphone and just let it all out. “I want to live forever, you know/But I can’t see past yesterday/I’m too young,” she sings on “Yesterday,” reminding us that behind the worldly voice, she’s still just a girl.

— Joanna Marshall

Best tracks from August until now…

There’s been a dizzying number of amazing records released this year. Those refusing to believe there is no good music anymore just aren’t paying attention. From the glitiziest pop to the most obscure metal, there are oodles of amazing artists coming out all the time and they are more accessible than ever. I created a guide to new music.


-Adam Lehrer

Wes Lang’s “Yeezus” tour shirts are more important than you might think

yeezus_merch_61Old people can say what they want about us Millennials (We’re self-involved, we are lazy, we are obsessed with our phones) but over-exposure does have some benefits, with the biggest benefit of all being that so many people like just about EVERYTHING. Less and less are their divisions between “punk,” “goth,” “B-boy.” Sub-cultures grow more and more obsolete by the day, and it’s great because they are stupid. People are defining their individualism by what they like, not what crowd the hang in. You grew up watching and playing  baseball but you want to be an experimental DJ in Bed-Stuy? Sure. You are a consummate artist painting like your the next Basquiat but that Michael Bay flick looks pretty entertaining? Cool, go see it. I am proud to be of a generation that is so plugged into a plethora of creative mediums and media. Everything is cool.


The teaming up of Hip-Hop’s darkest and biggest superstar Kanye West with New York-based visual artist Wes Lang is one of those excellent by-products of living in an age when something that makes so little sense makes perfect sense. Lang designed the Kanye tour shirts pictured above. Some are outraged, some are mesmerized. But one thing that is more important than what you think of these shirts is that this is a collaboration that is strange and perfect. Arguably the world’s greatest visionary pop star enlists visionary visual artist to make the coolest tour shirt possible. A buzz-worthy tour shirt. A tour shirt that will be worn and pondered for years to come.

Sure, the majority of Kanye fans probably don’t know who Wes is, but Wes’s fans sure know who Kanye is. Their aesthetics don’t match, but they do share things in common; they both have perfected their own unique look. Kanye dons himself in beautiful designer clothes and in doing so changed the face of hip-hop fashion forever, and for the better. Wes, who became interested in art while working at a tattoo shop after school when he was a teenager, sports full sleeve tattoos of everything from shottily done stick and poke skulls to highly detailed and professionally done girl heads. You will never see him without his leather biker vest, black jeans weslangartand either a Slayer or Grateful Dead tee shirt. In the stuffy and slightly effete sartorial world of Chelsea gallery men, Wes’s classic outlaw look is as refreshing as it is striking.

These two working together still not making sense? I digress. They are easily two of the most important American artists working in their artistic mediums. Kanye West has redefined what Hip-Hop can be. As much as the haters would love to hate, when I am an old man Kanye West will be remembered as the most important musical artist of my time. “Dark Twisted Fantasy” is still the best album of the last five years with its grandiosity-laden mega-productions stripped down to hip-hop size while embracing baroque, electro and soul musics. It’s already number 353 on Rolling Stone’s 500 best records list, and will probably keep going up when they realize the Beatles only had one great record (The White Album) and a beautiful hit (“Don’t Let me Down) and they are boring and old. “Yeezus” might very well be my favorite of this year, a pop record so packed with industrial grit and urban punch that only Kanye could have sold it to a record label. Like Throbbing Gristle, no actually it’s nothing like Throbbing Gristle, objectively. But the energy of this record reminds me of the early UK industrial bands, just sick and attention-seeking. Hell, “808 and Heartbreaks” isn’t his best record but without it would we have Drake? Would we have Miguel? Frank Ocean? How to Dress Well? Kanye got sick of rapping and started a new genre. His persona is so off the rails that he screams in your face, “Like me or not, it doesn’t mean shit to me.” He has pissed people off, subverted expectations, gone off the rails, made masterpieces and changed pop music. He throws touchy subjects in our face so we learn to swallow it. His music, his interviews and his award show appearances draw on race, hate, pain, lust, anger, debauch and so much more. Kanye has redefined what the American pop star is; part musical genius, part self-aggrandizing jester.

Someone who knows nothing about art might not be overly impressed with the paintings and drawings of Wes Lang. Conversely, someone who knows a lot about art and has been collecting for decades might be left similarly unenthused. His work typically consists of large scale drawings of a smattering of tattoo imagery; skulls, girls, indians, reapers, blood and more. Combined with ominous phrases the images form a collage. I am a tattoo head, and his connection to that scene initially made me a fan of his work, I feel compelled to admit this. But to label him as such, “A tattoo artist that does some painting,” is false. Tattooing is a trade, and I think the best tattoo artists are the ones that consider it as such, i.e. someone has an idea, a wolf head, and the tattoo artist puts the wolf on the person. Those guys’ idea of an image usually only goes so far as how the tattoo will look on skin. It’s creative and it’s awesome but not truly art. Lang’s work is going thousands of miles deeper, using the familiar reference points of tattoo imagery, sex and drugs to say what he wants to say about love, death, hate and about what it means to be an American in 2013.  Looks at his drawingweslangstandingonthemoon “Midnight Wine” from earlier this year. In it, you see a skull wearing an Indian headdress on the cover of what appears to be a book called “The Great American Novel,” a skull/rose, mountains, “We need new dreams,” an angel, “Eternal life,” hot woman with big boobs, rose, “Midnight Wine,” hour glass, reaper, “Wait a minute, watch what you’re doin’ with your time all the endless ruins of the past must stay behind.” Get it? It’s not as sloppy as it sounds, on the contrary his work is morbidly beautiful. Lang has a steady hand, indeed. But by confronting the viewer with a barrage of imagery that the viewer already has preconceived notions about, the viewer must confront why he feels this way and why this imagery brings up such connotations. Wes Lang’s work makes us feel the horrors of American history and the inescapable reality that is the past. His work lets us know that we will in fact die one day. But he also lets us know that with a life there is always time for rebirth. Wes Lang’s first solo book just came out two weeks ago, well over 15 years after first moving to Hoboken, taking up a job at at the Guggenheim and getting tattooed and painting all day. His ascent to art stardom was initially a slow burner, much like pre-rapping producer Kanye. But once he rose, his ascent was meteoric.

So now we see why it makes sense for these two to collaborate. They both are uncompromising iconoclasts that rose to the top of music and visual art respectively by creating their work with no thought other than, “This is what I want to create,” remaining committed to an ideal. The tee shirts for Kanye’s Yeezus tour are already infamous. Lang’s prints demonstrate one of his favorite images, the skull with a headdress, and other eye-grabbing “pissing people off”-type prints like a skeleton wrapped in a confederate flag. Both Kanye and Wes seem to be using this collaboration as a bizarre social experiment. Kanye is basically asking his fan base to don an image of slavery and hatred in the name of their love for Kanye, preexisting notions be damned. That is Rock n’ Roll! I can’t pretend to know why he’s doing this, but by putting his ideas next to a confederate flag he could be attempting to weaken the connotation behind the image. Meanwhile Lang told GQ that he just wanted to create a cool concert tee shirt like the hardcore and metal ones in the 80s. A shirt that people actually wear after the show. He has a point. I buy concert tees a lot and they are always lame forcing me to wear my tried and true Black Flag and Thin Lizzy shirts. But Wes’s selling of these tee-shirts at Pac Sun suggest that he is possibly either  trying to cash in on the Kanye companionship, or maybe he is going deeper into the idea of marketing these striking images to even less aware consumers? 14-year olds asking for the flag skull shirt while cruising the mall with their moms. I vision Wes taking a drag off his cigarette smirking ear to ear while Kanye taps his palms and fingers together like Scarface sitting in a throne of a leather chair at the giddy thought of this.

Basically, this is the only tour tee shirt I’ve ever heard of that has sparked controversy, not to mention legitimate buzz. The shirts are anticipated for crying out loud! I saw a guy wearing one in Providence and I got excited! Except for Marilyn Manson in the pussy-fied 90s, I can’t recall witnessing media covering the shirts at the merchandise tables of a big tour. But that’s what Kanye and Wes are about. These are two painfully creative men birthing some of the most important American art in 2013, and now they are working together. And I know I have over-analyzed this whole thing, but these are two completely different artists sharing similar ideas but demonstrating opposite aesthetics. They are both at the top of their game, and the mere mention of these two names in a sentence together shows a glimpse of what is possible with social media and the ever-diversifying tastes of the American public.

Oh and Ted, please don’t forget my shirt at the show. I’d like the headdress one : )

check out more of Wes Lang’s work here 

-Adam Lehrer

The Chop Continues

Jennifer Aniston

Photo via E! Online

The popularity of celebrities (and mere mortals alike) lobbing off great amount of their hair shows no sign of slowing down. On back-to-back days, America’s sweethearts both past and present debuted dramatic new ‘dos that go along with the trend.

First up is Jennifer Aniston, who spoke with ELLE UK about her new tresses, created by her longtime stylist Chris McMillan (the same guy who did ‘The Rachel’). “It wasn’t for a role,” the We’re The Millers star exclusively told the British fashion magazine. “My hair went through a phase—I did this thing called a Brazilian and my hair did not react really well to it…It’s about two inches above my shoulders now.” PopSugar captured her new look in an airport (above), which looks a bit disheveled—whether that’s on purpose is unknown.

Photo via Fashionista

Photo via Fashionista

And today, Jennifer Lawrence took it all off—from her head, that is. She showed off her very short locks on her Facebook page today, just as she’s kicking off for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and American Hustle. Thoughts on the looks are welcomed in the comments section.

Laura Gurfein

What Would 10 Influential Women Look Like as Disney Princesses?

Artist David Trumble's "World of Women" collection.

Artist David Trumble’s “World of Women” collection.

Images of ten real-life influential women Disney-ified was released in May of this year, following the Disney Princess glamorization of Brave’s Merida.  Though with the exclusive interview on Women You Should Know with artist David Trumble, the “World of Women” collection has gone viral.  Trumble explains the impetus for this project: Continue reading

Jimmy Kimmel’s 3rd Annual Halloween Prank Doesn’t Disappoint

Everyone knows Jimmy Kimmel loves a good prank. And probably his best one is his oldest…or youngest. For the past three years, Kimmel has parents videotape their kids reactions after they tell them they ate all their Halloween candy. What ensues is a raging tornado of kiddie fury full of screaming, wailing, and and lots of stomping. Enjoy.