Warner Bros and DC’s The Suicide Squad movie is rumored to have Will Smith, Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) as the main characters. It’s speculated that Smith would play Deadshot and Robbie as Harley Quinn. We know nothing else about the movie, but it seems that Deadline has the scoop on which character from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be featured in the film.
According to the site, WB is thinking about having Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor to be one of the villain characters in Suicide Squad.
The Suicide Squad is a team made up of DC supervillains who are forced to work for the government. They usually have a bomb attached to them, and if they disobey, well, you can use your imagination. If that’s the case, I doubt Lex Luthor would fall for a trap like that, since he is a genius. If the film does include Amanda Waller, who’s the director of the Suicide Squad unit, perhaps she’ll be able to get the upper hand somehow.
What do you think of Lex Luthor being in the Suicide Squad film?
For those who thought that the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer leak would ruin the chance for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to gain more followers, well, looks like they might be wrong.
It would seem that Marvel wouldn’t be too happy about the leak when it happened, since they jokingly blamed HYDRA, but the leak has helped with building hype for the Avengers sequel. There are those who were looking forward to watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this coming Tuesday just because of the teaser, but Marvel has announced a new “piece” to be attached. If that’s not enough, the company has plans for another preview on November 4th.
“Tune in to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” this Tuesday, October 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC to see an exclusive piece from Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Then, on Tuesday, November 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC, tune into “Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!” for another taste of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”–and much more!”
Brittney Cooper has a provocative piece up over at the Crunk Feminist Collective about (symbolically) slaying the patriarch and matriarch of The Cosby Show clan, Cliff and Clair Huxtable, in light of resurfaced concerns over real life patriarch Bill Cosby’s rape accusations. There’s a lot there to make you reconsider just how warm and fuzzy and lovable the character of Cliff Huxtable was. But here I want to talk about Clair.
I was born into a world where the Huxtables were near-universally beloved and held as the gold standard of black romantic possibilities. Each was an ideal partner in the context of a heteronormative relationship. But Clair even more so.
Because Clair was this personification of black womanhood that we didn’t get to experience in pop culture. Not only did she have an ideal career and an ideal husband (who also held an ideal career), she managed to be a loving and attentive mother who could still be regarded as beautiful and/or sexy. She was bilingual Strong Black Woman with a law degree, lady in the streets/freak in the bed, world class mother, etc. etc. Everything a black man could ever want.
And there has been my problem. I’ve known a great number of black men who idealize Clair Huxtable, and real life iterations of women who fall into her generation or before. They’re glad that her whole working outside the home thing never interfered with her performing her wifely or motherly “duties,” because you know, women can work but they’ve still got to be women. Clair Huxtable gets tossed around as a means of shaming black women who don’t live up to this standard.
Which brings me back to Cooper’s piece. Her slaying of Clair comes in the context of embracing a new generation of black women television stars, namely those in Shondaland. She writes:
How meta does Shonda Rhimes have to get for us to see that she’s peeling back layers, forcing us to look in the mirror, offering Black women opportunities every week to deal with our own racial and sexual traumas at the hands of white patriarchs and white patriarchy? Black men have traditionally dealt with that trauma by aspiring to the level of power white men have. Black women have experienced so much of the trauma of white patriarchy in intimate space –though not only there–and it’s time we had an opportunity to work out that trauma in (representational) intimate space. For once it’s about us and our pain, and what “the man” has done to us, specifically.
The lives of the black women in Shondaland are a bit more complicated, one may say messy, than that of Clair Huxtable. They have affairs and sleep with white men and don’t have children and are not at all like your grandmother. At least, the version of your grandmother that you met as your grandmother.
And this is what bothers me most about the idealization of black women from previous generations, which is mostly just a way to shame younger women for their ambition and sexual freedom. One, your granny was probably getting it in. I know most people don’t want to consider that, for any number of reasons, but our failure to do so is not about our grandmother’s “pristine” character but our romanticization of purity. Yes, the women that raised us, bathed us, fed us, disciplined us, and imparted their wisdom to us also liked to drink, smoke, and fuck. Deal with it.
That’s the other part of the romanticization. We want to believe that they did the cooking and cleaning and raising of children because their hearts were just so filled with love and they would never abdicate their womanly responsibilities. How often do we stop to consider that perhaps they never wanted children? How often do we stop and consider that perhaps they exhibited talents in childhood that weren’t encouraged because they were woman? How often do we stop and consider the limitations imposed upon them do lack of access to reproductive health care? How often do we stop and consider the women stuck in hetero relationships and unable to express their sexual love of women for fear of an ostracizing community or even death? How often do we stop to consider the women who stayed in abusive relationships because there was nothing else for them?
Nine times out of ten, we don’t. We laud these women for their strength, but never consider what it takes to embody such strength. We don’t consider the interior lives of these women. It’s acutely felt when discussing black women, because they have been the pillars of our communities, the only thing that has kept us going.
But they weren’t all Clair Huxtable. And they never needed to be. They were and are fully human, and everything that comes with that. So if slaying this pivotal pop culture figure can be a means of helping us explore the inner lives of black women, then slay we must.
Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.
It’s like I’m a broken record at this point, but this is yet another episode toward the end of Batman: The Animated Series that focused on one of the familiar Rogues trying (and ultimately failing) to go straight. But, whereas with the others, whose straight-and-narrowness is always tenuous and their fall back into crime is either entirely inevitable or immensely tragic. In today’s instance, it’s a comedy of errors that lead to the villain’s downfall, but ultimately ends on a positive, hopeful note. Strange for this show, surely, but when the character is fan (and writer) favorite Harley Quinn, anything less would be a travesty. This is the rare instance where Harley appears totally sans her abusive boyfriend/boss the Joker, and she’s all the better for it, proving she can easily carry a whole episode herself. We’re talking, of course, about “Harley’s Holiday.”
Written by TAS head writer and creator of the character Paul Dini, “Harley’s Holiday” is one more for the canon of Harley Quinn acting alternately silly and violent but ultimately showing herself to be misunderstood and afraid. It’s amazing how deep they continually made her and it’s because of this that she became so popular and bled over into the comics range. This episode aired almost exactly 20 years ago, on October 15th, 1994, and is actually the very final episode of the series to feature Harley Quinn. Good swan song methinks.
We begin with Harley in a meeting with her doctor at Arkham Asylum. She’s apparently made amazing progress in her treatment and is excited that she’s being released the following day. She’s positive she’ll be able to stay on the path of law and order. Just then, Batman and Robin escort a hysterically-shouting Scarecrow back down Arkham’s hallowed halls. After dropping him off, Batman walks up to Harley and wishes her well out in the world. She says she’s going to be as normal as normal can be.
CUT TO people on the street running and cowering because Harley is on roller skates being pulled down the sidewalk by her beloved pet hyenas. Completely oblivious to why they’d be upset, she just thinks they’re acting strange because her outfit is out of date. She decides to go buy a new dress at a department store, where the staff also hides from “the babies.” In the same store, coincidentally, Bruce Wayne is being forced into shopping for new clothes by socialite and notoriously shallow person Veronica Vreeland. Harley literally crashes into Bruce Wayne at one point and makes small talk. When Veronica comes up, Harley cheerfully says, Rremember when I held you hostage with the Joker last year?” to her, which makes Veronica walk away slowly. Harley is upset that people can only see the way she used to be instead of the healthy person she is now.
She’s lost in thought when she pays for her new dress and takes it before the cashier can remove the security tag, so as she tries to exit, the security alarm goes off. Harley immediately thinks she’s being set up and doesn’t listen when the guard says he just needs to take the tag off. She clobbers him with a mannequin arm and heads into the dressing room. Bruce Wayne tries to talk to her, but she’s already put her Harley gear on and decides she needs to get out of there, kidnapping Veronica and stealing Bruce’s car in the process.
Batman and Robin need to find Harley first to try to quell the issue and not get the poor girl sent back to Arkham, or to jail, but they’re not the only ones looking. In her escape, Harley causes Detective Bullock, who just happened to be driving by, to crash his car, so he goes in hot pursuit after her. Veronica Vreeland’s father also happens to be a highly decorated Army general and badly wants his baby girl back, to the point where he’ll do anything. Roads all seem to be converging somewhere.
Batman and Robin track Harley to the South Side where they assume she’s trying to find help, which she does in the form of mobster and racketeer Boxy Bennett, whom we last saw in “Harlequinade.” Boxy agrees to help Harley get out of Gotham, but first he wants to ransom off Veronica to her wealthy father. Harley says no, that nothing should happen to Veronica because she didn’t do anything wrong. This doesn’t sit well with Boxy who decides he’s taking control. Luckily, Batman and Robin show up and a big fight ensues. Harley and Veronica make a break for it again, after sicking the hyenas on Boxy who eventually climbs into a delivery truck and gives chase.
Veronica, despite being a hostage, sees that Harley is sad at what’s become of her first day out of the asylum and says that if Harley can get her back home safely, she’ll totally drop all charges. This makes Harley very happy, except just as things are looking up, the car is met by General Vreeland in a charging army tank who begins firing on the car. Oh, this can’t be good. Now, Harley is trying to get away from a mobster, a police detective, and a deranged general, all while Batman tries to keep everything from getting out of hand. Too late. The three pursuers eventually meet the car and they all smash into it.
Batman thinks Quinn and Veronica have been killed, but the clowness managed to get them both out in time. She drops Veronica into Robin’s arms and tries to make another getaway. Batman chases again to try to make Harley see reason, which she doesn’t. Eventually, she’s climbed out onto a moving neon sign for soda and it breaks. Luckily Batman catches her, but now she’ll definitely have to go back to Arkham.
The doctor seems very upbeat about the whole thing and Veronica has indeed dropped all charges so Harley might be out in no time. Batman even brought her the new dress she bought, because he also had a bad day once. Harley says “Nice guys like you shouldn’t have bad days,” and gives him a kiss. Then, because she’s Harley, she hauls off and plants a big smacker on the Dark Knight before saying “Call me!”
This is a really fun, funny episode that still manages to make Harley into the most sympathetic of villains. She’s not malicious and has always tries to protect women if possible, unless Mr. J tells her otherwise, of course, but she’s not an evil person. Misguided? Obviously. Perhaps more than anyone else, she should be in Arkham and it makes sense that she’s the one most likely to get released. She’s not a bad person at heart, she just got warped by the most evil mind alive. This episode features, to my mind, the only time a cartoon of the period was permitted to say “freakin’” when Boxy refers to “The freakin’ Batman.” Harsh language. It’s a fun half-hour all around and it will always make me hope, even though I know otherwise, that Harley will indeed get rehabilitated.
Enough of this reformed bad guy stuff; next week it’s yet another sadistic and insane plot by the Clown Prince of Crime, this time using stand up comedy as his palate. “Make ‘Em Laugh” is next week, and until then, let me know your favorite Animated Series villain in the comments below!
Just to remind people that he is in fact a hippie greenie liberal who likes to stimulate the economy whether the economy is in the mood or not, Barack Obama is moving forward with a program to train 50,000 veterans for solar energy jobs. This is some kind of liberal wet dream, combining a couple of things that Republicans have relentlessly blocked: it’s a jobs program (ugh) that promotes green energy (ugh!) and prepares people for an economy that’s less dependent on fossil fuels (not that; drill baby drill!).
Now all the initiative needs to do is have the vets install those solar panels on a gay wedding chapel/abortionplex, and we’ll change the Constitution to give Barry Bamz a third term (don’t worry about the slog of a constitutional amendment, though, since we hear he’s going to declare martial law and cancel all future elections anyway).
The job-training program is part of a wider initiative to promote green energy and cut reliance on fuels that create greenhouse gases. In addition to the solar job training, other executive-branch agencies will undertake green efforts in their areas of operations:
The Agriculture Department will also spend nearly $70 million to fund 540 solar and renewable energy projects, focused on rural and farming areas. And the Energy Department will propose stricter efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners, a move the department said could cut emissions more than any other efficiency standard it has issued to date.
Now, if you were a fuzzy-headed liberal, you might get the impression that this is more support for the idea that a shift away from fossil fuels could actually be good for the economy, instead of a disaster, but you would only say that if you didn’t have a keen understanding of how vital your oil and gas campaign contributions are. So get ready for another round of crying about green communism and accusations that Barack Obama is tampering with the economy. Oh, sure, solar industry jobs grew nationwide last year and appear to be on track to continue to expand, but is training people to install solar arrays really a good idea when there’s likely to be a change of climate in Congress in just a couple of weeks? Climate change may be “real,” but if the Senate goes Republican, chances are good that global warming will be officially declared not a thing, and all those vets will be left wishing they had gotten into oil or “clean” coal, now won’t they?
Prompt: Helena goes into a bar and meets... Frankie Rizzoli, Jr. (Rizzoli & Isles)!
Fandoms: Orphan Black/Rizzoli & Isles
Word count: 654
Rating/Contents: Teen/no warnings needed
Notes: AU. Set after season 2 of Orphan Black. Helena manages to go on her quest for Jesse without being captured. She's not pregnant. Set during season 5 of Rizzoli & Isles; Frankie's already a detective.
Dreamwidth | AO3
Who knew witch hunting movies are in? Vin Diesel will be starring as a bearded witch hunter in The Last Witch Hunter. If you couldn’t tell by the name of the movie, he’ll be playing the last of the witch hunters. (What would happen if another person were to become a witch hunter on the spot?) The film will also star Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie and Michael Caine.
Helming the film will be Breck Eisner, who has directed films like The Crazies and Sahara.
The Last Witch Hunter hits theaters on October 23, 2015, just in time for next year’s Halloween.
From Summit Entertainment. Tormented by the loss of his family and cursed with immortal life, the last witch hunter (Vin Diesel) is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.
Are you looking forward to Vin Diesel going up against witches?
Halo will be getting a live-action series from Steven Spielberg in the future, but before that comes out, we’ll be getting Halo: Nightfall, a digital mini-series being written by Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring and executive produced by Ridley Scott.
The series will contain 5 episodes that bridges the gap between Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Follow Agent Jameson Locke as tries to stop the Covenant before they release a virus that can wipe out humanity.
Halo: Nightfall will be out on November 11th, and you’ll be able to watch it via the Halo: Master Chief Collection.
Yesterday, Nerdist premiered the ghostly and striking music video for K.Flay’s “Make Me Fade”. Through a myriad of VFX, all cleverly captured with a hacked Xbox Kinect, the hypnotizing video features a dozen mercurial incarnations of the indie-pop artist. It’s a suitable visual metaphor for a musician who is constantly moving, adapting and developing. K.Flay’s relentless quest to find sounds that interest her, regardless of what anyone else is doing or saying, has made her an anomaly to record labels and a darling to critics.
We had the awesome pleasure to speak in depth with K.Flay about her journey in self-publishing, living on a tour bus almost indefinitely, and what happens when you watch The Bodyguard three times in a row.
Nerdist: Big question right off the bat: What’s the story with “A Wolf Doing Things”?
K.Flay: I think it belongs to our bus-driver? We’re not really sure of it’s origin story, but there’s this weird wolf mask that has been in the front lounge since we’ve started touring. There have been a few nights when we’ll be drinking and we’ll wear it, just being idiots. We were sitting on the bus thinking of funny things to film, because we have a guy who is documenting the whole tour and making little video things. So we have a camera and the capability to do just do these things easily. We were like, “It would be kind of funny to see a wolf doing everyday stuff.” Whats funny to me about it is that there’s no facial expression. Its this odd, non-emotive mask. We filmed the first installment in Burlington, and we filmed most of the second installment yesterday. we are building up a repertoire of Wolf Things.
N: So much of the conversation has fixated on trying to describe your sound and where you exist within the nicely packaged and labeled market of popular music. How do you, personally, describe your work?
K: Well, that’s a very good question. [laughs] On some level I’ve been contending with that for some time, just internally, as I’ve started even just to learn how to make music in a more real capacity, because I think when I started I really had no intention to do anything long term or serious. It’s been a process of discovery. If there is a word, and maybe this encapsulates the weird juxtaposition of some of the musical content and my online personality and my actual personality, it’s kind of alternative. That’s the only one I can think of. It’s hard. This latest record feels like more of an alternative sounding thing, in that there is certainly less rap and electronic elements than I’ve used in the past. Sonically, I think that is that case, and in terms of -I hate using this word- but image, or branding or whatever the hell, I think it’s also kind of alternative and strange and weird.
N: The album is cohesive but has a broad spectrum to it. Its funny we are so genre-driven, trying to always fit albums within pre-determined categories. That conflict defined your time signed to RCA. We are nearing the one year anniversary of you being released from that contract and returning to your indie roots. What was that transition like?
K: Interestingly, a large part of that transition took place while I was in LA. For a while I was very much like, “I need to get out of here. This isn’t a good situation for anybody.” We were at this impasse. When I finally did get off, it was a “What now?” moment. I had been waiting for this thing to happen, and filled with anticipation for, at that time, eight months. And then I was just in a room, being like, “I- I- don’t know what to do…” [laughs]
Even if you’re embedded in an infrastructure that sucks, or that you don’t particularly enjoy, it’s still an infrastructure, and there is still an established process for how things are going to run. Being completely untethered from that was really weird. It was really the first time in two and a half years that I had this feeling of total freedom, in both good and bad ways. The first little bit was tough and I felt a little bummed out. Part of me was in these 50 or 60 songs that I had to leave behind. It felt like everything I had done was for nothing. I had some of those types of thoughts. Once I actually got to LA and was there with old friends and really focusing, and just finding a room to sit and make music in, that’s when it started to feel great, you know? I started to reconnect with a lot of the things that drove me to start making music in the first place, and a lot of the things that just compel me in general. It was nice to find that, because the process at RCA -and this is something they do with a lot of artists- you’ll get in a room with lots of producers, and they have their own style and their own ideas and their own methods. When you do a lot of that, it becomes very disorienting. There are all these people who have ideas about how things should sound or what it should be. Especially for me, because there was a lot of room to push in many directions, it was just kind of a clusterfuck. It was really helpful to get back to having one person there, myself, to help clear my mind.
N: In April, you announced Life As A Dog, successfully crowd-funded it through PledgeMusic, and released it only two months later. It debuted at No. 14 on Billboard’s rap charts and No. 2 on the Heatseekers chart. Looking back on it now, it’s an undisputed success. But in the process of making that album on your own, did it ever feel overwhelming?
K: Yeah! [laughs] Constantly. I was in a place where I felt very realistically like anything could happen, but my anythings were, at least in my own mind, leaning towards terrible, humiliating outcomes. Yeah, I was I was really unsure. I think in the process of making anything there is a sense of uncertainty and there is a sense of doubt, there is a questioning and a reckoning process that happens, which is important and hopefully makes the product better. I was kind of bouncing around and finishing this thing, working with people, and I reached a point where an engineer and a producer who was helping to do some vocal engineering on the record -and he’s awesome; he’s in New York and one of the first people I met when I signed, so he’s known me during all this- and I played him the demo, and he made a comment like, “Don’t worry. It’ll be good,” something to that effect. It was somebody who had peripherally witnessed this whole process, and when I started to get a little bit of feedback from people like that, whose opinions I really trust, I felt like it would be okay. To be perfectly honest, very few people had heard this before it came out, there wasn’t a whole lot of, “Aw, this will be fucking great and people are going to like it!” There wasn’t a chorus or even just a comment. It was definitely scary. And when people gave money, when people invested in it, it was even scarier, because I was like, “Well, shit. If people don’t like it, they’re going to be really mad!”
N: You said you left about 60 tracks with RCA. Has there been any interest in revisiting those following the success of Life As A Dog?
K: Interestingly, a lot of those, as I look back now, weren’t really the best expression of myself. I feel like its in the past. I think I’ve moved on from it. I felt quite attached to a lot of those things initially, but now that I’ve regained some my footing, the past is the past. It’s like reading old texts messages; I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. [laughs] Not that I constantly read old text messages, but you know what I mean.
N: You also started your own label for Life As A Dog. What’s the plan from here? Have you considered producing projects for other musicians?
K: I have no idea. What’s cool at the moment is that I’m really happy with what we’ve done and how we’ve done it. It’s really been on our own terms. It has been a true labor of love, and everybody involved are people I actually care about and have a personal relationship with, or used to be my roommate or something like that. I sort of have no idea what is going to happen. Whether we continue to release independently, whether we partner up with someone, whether I start working with other people, everything is, in a great way, open up right now.
I don’t really know, to be honest, but that is probably the most truthful answer I can give. But it’s very cool and very different, I will say. When I was signed, I was a difficult, developing artist; I didn’t have a record, I never made an album. Now I’m at a point where we did it, we made the record, and there is so much more knowledge and understanding of that process that I have, and there’s also more of an established sound and vision moving forward. To me, that was such a decadent life the first time, when there wasn’t anything that was established, so it was so malleable, that it ended up being like clay that, instead of being made into a shape, just got smashed in someone’s hand a bunch of times. Now it feels like people kind of “get it” more, which is cool.
N: You mentioned collaborating with more people in the future. Who makes your list of dream collaborators?
K: Have you heard the Shlohmo & Jeremih EP that came out a little bit ago? I think the production on it is really, really cool and interesting, and, in a way, it feels sort of genre-less, even though a lot of the vocals are kind of more R&B pop. Shlohmo’s awesome.
K: I’m listening to Royal Blood. Their record is awesome. They are a duo with a huge, awesome sound. The drums sounds great on the record. I’m also listening to the Marmozets. They’re also a UK band, and we actually toured with them this summer on Warped. Their record just came out a couple weeks ago. They’re crazy live. There are the old standbys. I still listen to that old Tame Impala record about three times a week. It lends itself to the road very well, to any stage of transience.
K: That came about completely organically. Mary and I are just friends. We met probably through some vague indie-rap/Macklemore/Seattle-based connection. Two years ago when we were out there, she came up and sang with us on stage, and we got to hang out a bit more. She hit me up, and was like, “Would you be interested in doing this,” and of course I was like, “Yes.” The track immediately resonated with me. I wrote that verse in 45 minutes. I really felt the energy immediately. I happened to be in Oakland for a couple days, which is where my mom and stepdad live, and I record a lot of things in their basement (so thank you, Mom and Tom), for letting me do that constantly). I was able to lock myself in the basement and get it done. I’m really honored to be a part of it, because I think Mary’s a really special and important voice right now in music.
N: You do a lot of hair whipping and head-banging in your shows and videos; it’s kind of your trademark move. How do you manage headaches?
N: That’s not a real question. You don’t have to answer.
K: Oh, I would like to say this! The first day of tour is horrible. I can’t move my neck the next day. I try to in rehearsal kind of swing around, just so I get used to it. But after that first day of torture, my neck and head never hurt again, which is amazing. Kind of a PSA for everyone: If you’re interested in head-banging, you just need to do it one day really intensely, and suffer for, like, three days, and then you’ll be fine.
K: No! I didn’t even know those were existing things. I can’t even feign knowledge. I was making a SoundCloud playlist of demo ideas for possibly the record, and on a complete whim called it “Life As A Dog.” Maybe I was hungover, I don’t know what was going on with me, but I felt kind of shitty and titled it that. As the songs were coming together, and I was trying to brainstorm titles, I kept coming back to that. It touched upon these dual sentiments of feeling oppressed and treated like a dog, but also being a lone wolf, doing your own thing, and saying “fuck it” to everything else.
being a dog, or being a bad person, perhaps regretting things. The third meaning that I thought about, too, is the metaphor of being a dog, being a bad person, perhaps regretting things that have transpired. For some reason, I just like it. I usually have a hard time with titles, I find them very difficult to come up with, so when I found one I liked, I said, “Eh, let’s do it.” But I should watch the movie, people keep saying I got to.
N: Though you haven’t seen that movie or read the book, you do read. You even used to review books on your YouTube channel. What are you reading now? Do you have time to read? Maybe that’s a better question.
K: I DO! I do have time. Although Ive been terrible on this run; It’s been very hectic, in a great way. I’m reading a book called Hothouse [by Boris Kachka]. It’s nonfiction, and it’s about the history of Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing house. It’s really cool, it’s a book about books, which makes it even better, in my opinion. But it’s really interesting, because it takes place in this crazy time in post-war America, when publishing houses weren’t yet total conglomerates, and there was a real appreciation, at this house in particular, for high-brow, potential Nobel Prize-winning literature and poetry, and all these people had crazy, personal relationships with their authors and poets. The book chronicles that, and focuses mainly on Roger Straus as the monolithic patriarch at the head of this whole thing. He’s this revered and reviled character; he’s awesome.
N: Any favorite books of all time?
K: I’m not sure if this is a favorite of all time, but definitely a favorite of the last five years: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. I really enjoyed that. I thought it was one of the more creative narratives. It’s so well done in terms of conceptually and inventive and cool in the arch of the story. I recently read the book Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson, even though it came out, like, 35 years ago. That book is amazing, it’s incredible. And my all-time recommendation is the Handmade’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. That was a very important book for me, especially in my early 20’s, when I was ending college. And Margaret Atwood is a G. She’s a fuckin’ badass. I’m serious. She writes children’s books, she writes short stories, she writes nonfiction, she writes essays. She’s written, like, 30 novels. She incredibly prolific. Like I said, she’s a G, that’s the only way to describe her.
N: What about movies or TV shows? I’m making you a fake OKCupid profile over here.
K: We went on a weird spree of watching the same movie three nights in a row. We started off with The Bodyguard. Which I had never seen before, and -we’ve been talking about this on the bus- the soundtrack is incredible, it is unparalleled. I was crying at the end, it’s kind of emotional. Then we did The Departed for the next three nights, which I had seen previously and is an awesome movie. Then we tried watching Selena the other night, but, no offense, my memories of it were much better than the reality of it.
N: Some movies don’t hold up to three back-to-back viewings
K: Most don’t. That should be the new test to determine if a movie really holds up.
N: Going back to music questions: Like most hip hop artists, you double-majored in Psychology and Sociology at Stanford. If not for your career in music, what would you be doing right now?
K: This is a question I never have an answer for, because once I commit to something mentally, I kind of exclude all other possibilities. So once I started doing this in earnest, I just shunned all other “what ifs” from my mind. But, you know, I probably would have continued on with graduate school in some capacity. But I really have no idea, and that’s sort of terrifying as I vocalize it.
N: But it must be empowering, too, since you’re never paralyzed by those “what ifs.”
K: No, and there sort of is none, and that may be its own problem that I need to sort out at some point. But for right now, I think, one of the things that this whole, weird trajectory has taught me is to live in the present. For instance, I don’t even have an apartment, and haven’t in 15 months. It creates this sort of hyper-focus in a temporal sense, a mentality where you’re like, “How am I’m going to eat today and how am I going to do these eight things?” There is obviously planning for the future, but in a certain way, there’s not. There’s a relinquishing of concern to the broader forces of fate.
N: Stanford, where you studied before, is also where your origin story occurred. The story goes you were talking trash about how formulaic rap had become and a friend challenged you to write something better. So you did, and now you’re selling out shows in Brooklyn. Will we ever hear that first rap you wrote, or is that like one of those old text messages you don’t want to revisit?
K: I actually do not have it. My friend does; she’s sort of like the unofficial archivist for the project. [laughs] Just because she’s so organized. And she just had a baby, literally the cutest baby ever! The day that this tour ends, I fly to LA for three days to help take care of her and run errands for them, and hopefully give them a break. So, yes, somebody on planet earth has a copy of the song. You know, for me it feels, yeah, like imagine applying to a writing job and submitting your junior high book report. Developmentally, its such a different place. It was the first music I had written, so it was totally outside my zone, and because it was sort of farcical in its content, it feels even more distant, just because everything now is very emotionally salient for me, and very true to my experience.
N: Let’s talk about this stellar music video for “Make Me Fade”. Nerdist is thrilled to get to premiere it with you. How’d you guys come up with this video?
K: The director of this video is the same director I worked with for “Rawks”, and he’s just become a really good friend of mine. His name is Ben Fee, he’s just an incredibly talented and overall creative person in all aspects of his life. He’s a really fun person to collaborate with because we’re both goofy and weird enough, but we also are down to work and put in the time. So when we were talking about the song, and visually what it lends itself to, we kept returning to not wanting to tell a specific narrative -like someone getting drunk and forgetting about their problems, or someone leaving their relationship- as the vehicle of the song. We were talking about this idea of connecting two different realities: the physical world and something that was manipulated, broken down and disintegrated in some capacity.
We had a ton of amazing people involved, one of whom was a genius who hacked into Xbox Kinect. He recorded all the pixelated imagery in the video on one of those, and was then able to manipulate it afterwards, to achieve all the color and shapes and all that. Its really cool, in terms of recording equipment, we are literally just talking about an Xbox Kinect and a computer. I have no idea what was going on in terms of algorithms; that’s all so beyond me.
But, yeah, we wanted to create this tension between, like I say, the real, physical world and this dissolved version of that physical one. Some of the stuff we came up with beforehand, but a lot of it came the day of the shoot from experimenting with things that felt new and interesting to us.
N: It reminds me of Lawnmower Man, as well as some of those other creepy ‘90s movies that highlighted what could be done with special effects. Johnny Mnemonic comes to mind. Did you guys have any visual influences or references going into it?
K: Not really. The main visual reference, interestingly enough, is the single-art for the song itself. Basically a photo of me in all black, ensconced in a white sheet. We really wanted to do something largely monochromatic, stark and very high contrast. I think we were definitely able to capture a lot of that in the video. In terms of special effects, a lot of it came as we were filming, and we got to see what we could capture with that Kinect, and how it would look, and what I could do to make it more interesting.
N: My favorite is the three-dimensional K.Flay made out of the pulsating, multicolored, pixelated mesh. So all that took was a Kinect.
K: And a couple of geniuses. Those are not included.
N: Who is in the static-y body suit? Is that your drummer Nich Suhr?
K: No, the static man is another friend. Ben, the director, has this awesome warehouse just outside of Oakland, and there is this constant ebb and flow of cool people, all involved in filmmaking in some capacity. So everyone in the video, all the hands you see in the sheets, are just other creative people who happened to be around, and were down. Having that DIY core to how it was made, that feels really good.
N: On the surface, “Make Me Fade”, it sounds like a begrudging love song to substance abuse. But you’ve also mentioned this album being mostly about love and lovesickness.
K: When I was writing, it probably stems more from a general concept of addiction. I’ve been very intrigued by what addiction means, and how it manifests in people, and how people become addicted to things, and how that overtakes their lives. When I was working on it, I was really just focused on this idea of so much that we seek out in life–and this could be a relationship, it could be heroin–we kind of seek out in order to distance ourselves from reality. We want to be comfortably numb in whatever circumstance allows us to be that way. When I was working on it, lyrically, a lot of it came from the perspective of somebody who was a drug addict or dealing with some sort of substance abuse issue. But then when I started getting deeper into the lyrics, I actively wanted to make it not just about that, and to be about this idea of waiting for a person. I’ve never had the experience of being addicted to anything, but I’ve certainly interacted with people and substances. I can understand how that occurs. It’s one of those topics that’s forever compelling for me.
N: You’ve been moving practically constantly since April. First with the album being recorded across three cities, then Warped Tour, then your tour, which comes to an end November 6th back in the Bay Area, where it all started for you. What is next?
K: What IS next? Nothing is either set in stone or can be announced at the moment, but basically just continuing to tour and promote the record as much as possible. For me, the live show is such an important part of it, and it’s something that I really love. I love being on the road; its an awesome feeling. Whether its a sold out show or fifty people there, it’s a great feeling to be able to play, and particularly to play this record, for people. That’s kind of going to be the focus for the next bit. I’m sure I’ll be working on music in the meantime, but the main thing is just getting out on the road, and grinding, and hopefully getting of the States and visiting some abroad places. We will see!
You can catch K.Flay on tour:
10/24 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
10/25 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn
10/26 – Nashville, TN – 12th and Porter
10/27 – Asheville, NC – The Mill Room
10/30 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
10/31 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada
11/1 – Austin, TX – The Mohawk
11/6 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar
Some general stuff about my tastes: Explicit sex (slash, het, or femslash - and I've requested at least one of each, hee!) is okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for that era or fandom. UST, gen, whatever. It's all good. I don't care for PWP - I need at least a little context. I also tend to prefer sex scenes that focus on emotions and perceptions rather than on the mechanics of what goes where, and I am rather vanilla where kink is concerned.
The characters I've chosen are the ones I want the focus on, but, o writer mine, the choice of what kind of story to write and who to include in it lies with you. Feel free to take things in whatever direction you like and/or include characters I haven't mentioned. I love crossovers, but if you choose to write one, please make sure (either through checking my fic, tags, asking my friends, or asking the mods to ask me) that I know the other source. In general I am not a fan of AU, but if you have an immensely clever idea, go for it.
I have a soft spot for time travel, bodyswap, ghost stories, mythological and supernatural elements, and magical realism. I generally prefer plot (as in, things happening; doesn't have to be elaborate or long), past tense, a clear narrative, and lots of dialogue. But write something that hooks me hard, and all other considerations go out the window.
And now, on to the fandoms:
( Cadfael Chronicles - Ellis Peters (Sister Magdalen) )
( Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein (Maddie Brodatt, Jamie Beaufort-Stuart) )
( Die Dreigroschenoper | Threepenny Opera - Brecht/Weill (Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown) )
( Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater (Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish) )
Have fun! Write something you enjoy writing, and I will enjoy reading it. And if you're just stumbling upon this through the letters page, I am signed up as Isis.
Support this week's full-text RSS feed by buying Julia Wertz's Museum of Mistakes: The Fart Party Collection
Julia Wertz's Fart Party has been a beloved webcomic for a decade. Check out the complete collection, including never-before-published material.
(What's the deal with these links? Click here for info.)
Hey guys! I know I always mention at the bottom of the COTW that you can buy ads on this site, but I thought I’d tell you up top that I’ve tweaked the advertising page to make it easier to buy ads in more slots. So if you’re interested, check it out, won’t you?
And now: your comment of the week!
“Why are there always random woodland creatures in every third Mark Trail panel, loitering outside Mark’s house where the ‘action’ is taking place? I like to think it’s because Mark is a Disney princess and they follow him wherever he goes, sometimes breaking into song. It’s either that or Mark left his garbage uncovered.” –Jack loves comics
And the very hilarious runners up!
“‘OH MY GOD HOW AM I GOING TO HELP OUT MY ELDERLY FRIEND WHO HAS TROUBLE CARING FOR HERSELF?’ ‘HI MARY? REMEMBER ME? I JUST MOVED INTO THAT CARE FACILITY THAT TAKES CARE OF ALL THE NEEDS THAT I CAN’T TAKE CARE OF MYSELF!’ ‘HMMMM…’ [cue billboard-sized thought balloon of Hanna Dingdon]” –pugfuggly
“Well if it isn’t my friend, Felicia Deus Ex Machina!” –Wool Worth
“The Great Dismal Swamp sounds like an awesome place for Rusty to get mired in quicksand or tar or leaking oil from a fracking operation gone bad.” –Mikey
“I guess some forethought might have been in order, but since you are Parkers, just pull into someone’s front yard and make yourself at home. What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t get thanked enough?” –Kevin on Earth
“We never have to speak of him again. Because we haven’t spoken of him in about 20 months though he inexplicably firebombed my apartment. You’d think something like that would merit conversation, but anyway, since you’re at my agency, what kind of plotline do you think you might be interested in? We have ‘Inexplicable Quickie’, ‘Fade-Out’, ‘Traditional Boring’ and my new personal fave, ‘Meandering Nonsense’. No need to choose now, please take as many panels as you need. In fact, when you decide, make sure you end with ‘I’ve made a decision! I think I’ll take –!’” –Hogenmogen
“‘Ready for some normal police work?’ ‘You bet, Sam!’ ‘Hunting down a perp who’s been given plastic surgery work to look like a movie monster is normal, right?’ ‘I don’t even know any more, Sam!’” –Enlong
“Oh, Henrietta remembers. She remembers the exact moment that Shelia Roo gave her that OMELET recipe! It was the week before little Joey was found pecked to death.” –Arabella
“Say what you will about Hootin’ Holler’s education system, at least they still pass on the proper etiquette of extending your pinky finger when holding a rifle.” –Guts Dozier
“Snuffy and Lukey are made of some strong stuff. If I found an artistically aggressive yet disturbingly non-specific circus poster nailed with a railroad spike to a tree deep in the forest, I’d probably regress to a preverbal state out of sheer terror.” –Joe Blevins
“I’ve never been able to figure out how Mary Worth’s hairdo actually works. Do all the hairs, including the ones that start on the back of her neck, meet together at some appointed place on the back of her head?” –Poteet
“I just didn’t need to see a flesh-colored plugger with flesh-colored hair this morning, is all I’m saying.” –Esther Blodgett
“I like to imagine that Mark and Bill Ellis are screaming into large blocks of chocolate. At least their conversation makes more sense that way.” –Lawyerbob
Thanks to everyone who put some scratch in my tip jar! If you’d like to buy advertising on the site, you can do so on a CPM basis through BuySellAds. To find out more, you can go to my BuySellAds page or just click here.
All four Senators are played by gifted comic actors, but John Goodman's performance as Senator Gil John Biggs is seriously on another level. He is corrupt in shallow, benign ways: He is a creature of vast appetites who appreciates small comforts, who gets cheap thrills from being allowed to pretend to pilot military planes because of his status. His corruption is something he is unapologetically plainspoken about: "I am a perks person," he says, even to reporters. And yet he is also a diligent public servant with real if cynical principles, who finds inspiration for fighting a political challenger by talking to the tea party-affiliated idiots in his home town and realizing that his form of mealy-mouthed, middle of the road, half-assed Republicanism is a vital bulwark. It is one of the more clever parodies of The Candidate I've ever seen- and an energetic Goodman plays the transformation with foul-mouthed beatific charm. [As a moderate Republican, in a weird way Senator Biggs is my President Bartlet]
The thing that has been delightful about the show has been that what seemed like throwaway jokes keep getting stronger the more legs they are given. At first I was dismayed by the jokes suggesting that Senator Louis Laffer was a hypocritical closeted homosexual, but as we've seen more of Louis, met his wife and his daughter and seen the funny and dysfunctional ways they work as a family, seen how religion functions in his life, seen how he has pieced together a life full of meaning... the moments where Louis hides in a locked room and dons a Vegas showgirl's headdress seem less at his expense. That is his triumph, his reward for standing up to the asshole casino owners whose campaign donations had given them undue power over his political life: He gets to express his queerness, which is as much an essential facet of who he is as his Mormonism.
And Senator Robert Bettencourt's fight over ethical violations at first seemed destined to end in disaster, his quip "I couldn't have been given a mohair suit, I'm allergic to mohair," seemingly intended to poke simple fun at his inability to grasp the real locus of the accusations against him. Until the accusations come to a head when he self-induces an allergic reaction to prove that he wasn't lying, and he emerges triumphant on a ridiculous technicality that somehow helps us cross the idea of ethical violations over from the fantasy of TV land into the real world. [One of the things that has always boggled me about the bigger corruption scandals is the specificity of the luxury goods involved. What the hell was Dennis Koslowski doing with all the weird things bought with stolen money? This mohair suit gag developed the question perfectly: Of course Robert is beholden to special interests, but he would NEVER accept mohair.]
Meanwhile, the least interesting of the Senators is Mark Consuelos's Senator Andy Guzman, an assimilated Latino who tries to play off of his minority status while having virtually no sense of minority identity... and of course, as the least substantial and interesting character, he emerges as the most Presidential among them with a successful Rebuttal to the State of the Union. (Having been repeatedly exhorted not to pull a Jindal)
Season 2 is being released this weekend on Amazon Prime. I am really looking forward to it.
Superhero Movie News claims to have gotten...
We are just a day away from our Extra Life event and I have more details for anyone planning on joining us for the fun and games. If you’ve been pondering the tough queries of what we’ll be playing, who we’ll be playing with, and what types of giveaways everyone be ready for, then we’ve got a little bit of useful info for you right down below. For those of you still in the dark on this, we’ll be live-streaming on our Twitch channel for 24 hours in an effort to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country. You can DONATE on our Extra Life Team Page.
What will we be playing?
We’ll be taking a dip into a little bit of everything ranging from Destiny‘s Vault of Glass raid on the hardest difficulty, to titles of the yesteryears like Mario Kart Double Dash. You can expect to see next-gen games such as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Sunset Overdrive, and Bayonetta 2 take their rightful places in the rotation, but don’t be surprised if the question of Goldeneye or Perfect Dark comes up by the end of our 24 hours on air. Also, don’t think we won’t be whipping out the board games for some fun tabletop action either. Word on the streets is that a certain queen of Pumpkin Spice Lattes may even host a session of the Battlestar Galactica board game live on camera.
Who can you expect to see this Saturday?
You’ll definitely be seeing your usual fearless heroes like Jessica Chobot, Dan Casey, Brian Walton, Michele Morrow and the white pants messiah himself, your’s truly. You can also expect many other guest including Nerd Alert’s Kim Horcher, quite a few of our friends from Geek and Sundry, the face of Sunset TV Mr. Brandon Winfrey, and many more.
How can you be a part of this?
There are tons of ways that you can help out in reaching our goal. The best way would be to join our Extra Life team, providing a donation to the team on your behalf or even by hosting your very own live-stream event. The best part about this is, we’ll be giving away lots of cool stuff throughout the stream to folks who donate, including Loot Crate subscriptions, video game vouchers, and some merchandise from our pals at Astro Gaming. Truthfully, there’s no telling who may drop by with something exclusive to give away, like these Astro a38s with exclusive Nerdist speaker tags:
Pretty neat, right? All in the name of the children! Of course, if you’re unable to donate, hanging out with us in the chatroom still goes a long way too, and we’ll make it worth your while with some rather insane gaming shenanigans to keep you entertained. We’ll all need to root each other on as we make our way to that glorious $20,000 mark, which is nothing in comparison to the smiles this money will put on the faces of the children that benefit from it.
And that’s the rundown, folks. We’re going to be kicking things off at 9am PST this Saturday, and won’t be logging off until the earth makes its full rotation into Sunday morning. Make sure you keep our team page book marked if helping out is in the cards for you, or if you’re a social media junkie in need of a reminder when that pivotal day hits, feel free to join our Facebook event. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll be sure to get you an answer STAT. Hope to see you there!
Apparently it's a common runner's injury and they can fix it with therapy/exercises. Joy. (But I do get bright blue tape around my knee to prove to my employers that I totally had a reason for that doctor's appointment - not that it's stopped anybody from sending me out to run errands/sending me running up and down the stairs at work repeatedly, but the sprained ankle I had a couple years ago didn't either)