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What's Left Of Pop Music In The Miley Era?

In the shower I listen to Kiss 108, Boston's Clear Channel-operated pop station, a fair amount, and so in addition to hearing the vowel-crazed Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z collaboration "Holy Grail" a lot I have been subjected to ads for the station's Jingle Ball, which took place at the TD Garden this past Saturday. Miley Cyrus was the scheduled headliner; the bill also included Enrique Iglesias, Paramore, Selena Gomez, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke and Fifth Harmony. (Each year, a cast of Clear Channel-approved pop stars whips through the country's biggest markets, with lineups growing and shrinking in accordance with each city's prestige level.) I was pretty excited; [...]


Is This The Best Music And/Or Magazine Of 2013?

That was the bait, here's the switch! *WHACK* Maura Magazine is off i-devices and into the wild today. CHECK IT.


Game of Crones: A Chat About Jane Campion's "Top Of The Lake" So Far

Jane: Wow, so the third episode of Jane Campion's seven-part series, "Top of the Lake," aired last night and it wasn't until I started reading reviews that I realized how divisive Campion can be. Granted, this is her first television venture to be released in the U.S., and perhaps viewers are more used to Campion's lush aesthetic on big screen, but it's not like exaggerated dramatics are unknown quantities in TV-land either.

So I know we're both Campion enthusiasts (Bright Star, would other films be steadfast as thou art?!), and while I'm absolutely loving "Top of the Lake," there are definitely moments that leave me [...]


It's the Maura Magazine Launch Party!

Today in NYC: Maura Magazine launches, with a reading at Arrow Bar!

Plus! The monster Prince tribute at Carnegie Hall. The Believer has an anniversary party at Le Poisson Rouge! Videogames and failing at them is discussed at NYU. Masha Gessen talks Putin at McNally Jackson. And Emily Gould and friends discuss Renata Adler at the 92Y TriBeCa Screening Room tonight, with a movie screening! It's all laid out here.


Why We Need "Enlightened"

Michelle Dean: We have gathered here today because, and I think this is not an exaggerated term, we are devoted to "Enlightened," the struggling HBO show from Mike White that stars Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a woman who… is struggling to figure out life. That sounds kind of patronizing, but it's the only way to put it.

Recently I found myself actively worrying about the show's potential cancellation as I went about my day. And I keep tossing around different reasons of articulating why. One is of course that like David Haglund at Slate, I think it's the most interesting show on television right now, as well as [...]


When You Need More Maura In Your Life

"I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how people consume online content and talking about those ever-shifting habits with the public. How do stories get told and disseminated in the age of social sharing—especially if they’re not easily digestible or instantly familiar? How can we make sure that writers are given resources to dive into stories that might not be obvious after a cursory Google search? Thankfully, the fine people at 29th Street Publishing are around and also thinking about those questions, as I learned during a Mets game in July. Perhaps prophetically, it was Fireworks Night, and my mind exploded with possibility as 29th Street [...]


The Year In Internet Outrage

Last weekend, in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, and the revelation that the person behind it might have been a troubled young man, a writer in Idaho, Liza Long, put up a blog post, ""I Am Adam Lanza's Mother," that purported to speak to the experience of Nancy Lanza, who had been her own son's first victim. Tightly written and extremely candid about the violent rages and suicide threats of her son, it quickly spread beyond its original home on the web, picking up millions of pageviews from Gawker, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and other outlets looking for another weekend traffic jolt during a trying time.



Who Will You Pay With Your Time, Money and Attention Tonight?

Public Enemy plays at Irving Plaza, every small literary website does a benefit for Stephen Elliott's film, a Nico Muhly premiere at the debut recital by the rather incredible soprano Jennifer Zetlan at Alice Tully Hall, Sarah Schulman and Vijay Prashad talk Palestine at McNally Jackson, Maura Johnston and pals talk about the Polaris Prize at Housing Works!


Defending Manhattan From America: Pete Wells and Guy Fieri

yup. RT @samfbiddle: @max_read @mattlanger @maura also horrible things that exploit stupid people deserve to be ridiculed into destruction

— Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) November 14, 2012

Last night, or in "today's paper" if that is how you roll, Times restaurant critic Pete Wells bombed Guy Fieri's new garbage hut in Times Square with a zero-star review and the Internet kind of exploded over it with glee.

This food shack does in fact sound truly terrible! I fortunately already knew that I would not need to eat there, long before the Times saw fit to inform me. Which, then, I have questions: is [...]


Accordions and Theremins and Music Writers!

Sasha Frere-Jones and Maura Johnston and pals read at Le Poisson Rouge even while Bitch Magnet plays in the back room, well before the fabulous Gilles Peterson spins late tonight. (I love him so.) ALSO! Enjoy the theremin of Pamelia Kurstin at Barbes and the accordion compositions of Guy Klucevsek at Roulette.


Solange, "Losing You"

Solange Knowles's new song is really good. The video for it was directed by Melina Matsoukas and filmed in Solange's Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. (Or Cape Town, South Africa, one of the two.) [Via]


Free To Be… Straight White Males

Here is a tweet that Gawker writer Max Read retweeted a few days ago.

RT @DavidWinkies: @max_read actually if you call a lawyer and say you're white a dude and str8, they say you have no case #truestory

— max read (@max_read) May 23, 2012

So, sort of a backstory, to begin. Last week brought us two Internet rumpuses regarding and/or demonstrating an especially privileged kind of blindness/obliviousness/ridiculousness. One was TED curator Chris Anderson's flabbergasting decision to withdraw a TED speech about wealth inequality on the grounds that it was "too political." The other, John Scalzi's head-patting essays on Kotaku, comparing [...]


How 25 National Magazine Award Nominations Went To 25 Male Writers

Last week, the American Society of Magazine Editors released its list of nominees for the 2012 National Magazine Award. In the so-called "brass ring" long-form categories—reporting, feature writing, profile writing, essays and criticism and columns and commentary—all 25 of the writers nominated were men.

For an organization that usually gets talked about exactly twice a year—once when it announces the nominations, and again when it declares the winners—suddenly people had a lot to say about ASME.

"Women can’t write, says ASME," went the Daily News headline. David Carr called it a "sausage-fest." Disdain for the organization manifested in the Twitter hashtag #ASSME.

It's easy to imagine the [...]


Yes, There Should Be Fire

You know the existential dilemma that occurs when you can't decide which would be worse, if something were fake or if it were actually real? There oughta be a German word for that. Also, some kind of cleansing Internet conflagration. [Via]


What's Your Most Played Song?

Now that we've finally cleared out all of those "best of" and "year end" music lists of 2011—and good riddance!—here's something different: most played songs. The songs that show up on your most played list aren't necessarily the songs that defined the year for you. They can be timeless—the comfort songs you return to over and over again. Or they can reflect periods of brief, intense obsession, such as, in my case, with "My Heart is a Drummer” by Allo Darlin’, which I first listened to on a recommendation from a friend, and proceeded to play 50 times in a span of three days.

Here then, from 43 music [...]


Wham!'s "Last Christmas" Is the Most Horrible Holiday Song Ever Made

Christmas songs are designed to be catchy, annoying and vaguely reminiscent of winter. The most successful are horrible holiday earworms, such as "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Heat Miser/Snow Miser." But one song is so overplayed and over-covered and so mediocre to begin with that it makes the rest sound like "White Christmas." Its recent exclusion from the A/V Club’s recent list of worst Christmas songs is a gross injustice to the holidays and to musicdom in general.

"Last Christmas," written by George Michael and first performed by Wham! in 1984, is a wallowing mess of a song. It mistakes self-indulgence for closure. It contains a synthy falseness [...]


The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Should Not Exist

"Certainly the body of artists on the museum's roster represents pop—yes, it's a certain idea of pop, one with a stamp of Importance that's defined by values rooted in privileging rock's ethos over others, but it's pop nonetheless." —Awl pal Maura Johnston is right to sigh and complain about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's inherently awkward and confounding selection process. (And she gets to, because she voted!) I think it's an institution that should not exist. The fact that Joan Jett didn't qualify as a first-ballot inductee speaks to why. Even under the problematic organizing principle that has the Beastie Boys making it in over Eric [...]


Summer Baking: Homemade Pudding Pops

SUMMER BAKING? ARE YOU KIDDING? IT'S ONE MILLION DEGREES. So here: get some Kozy Shack chocolate putting LOL, PUDDING and put it in the freezer in molds. BOOM. The end. God it's hot.

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days like today make me miss jell-o pudding popsFri Jul 22 16:57:59 via TweetDeckmaura johnstonmaura

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@maura You can make 'em DIY! Mix up a batch of instant pudding, spoon into popsicle molds, pop in freezer for a few hours… ET VOILA!


Ask Your Doctor About Benzinger's Disease

David Raposa: Hey, here's an MLB reality-show pitch: "BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE." You get your Cabreras and your Jobas together at some exotic locale during the off-season, put them through their paces, get a Jillian Michaels knock-off to rip them a new one every time they smuggle in some Archway molasses cookies, etc.

David Roth: Hosted by Rich Garces and Summer Sanders.

David Roth: "They all eat hot dogs like Tic Tacs, but only one of these contestants will be able to report to Spring Training and say… 'I'm in the best shape of my life.'"

David Raposa: CASH MONEY.

David Roth: License up those fake versions [...]