Sunday, April 22, 2018

New York City, 1981 - 1983: 36 Months That Changed the Culture

T Magazine – "New York City, 1981 - 1983: 36 Months That Changed the Culture"

"Of course, inhabitants of other great metropolises experience similar sensations, but the feeling is more intense in New York, in part because the city is both younger than and smaller than many other places that have at one point of another determined the global cultural agenda. How is it, then, that a town with millions fewer people than Tokyo, Mexico City, Beijing, Sao Paulo or Mumbai has been responsible for such a disproportionate amount of the aesthetic language and iconography of the modern age? Perhaps the answer is that this city – like this country – is composed significantly of migrants, and New York has always been the place to prove your mettle. Our fierce, collective ambition – our determination to be the "best," however you define the word – contributes not only to the city's thrum (and everyday brutalities), but is also responsible for the excessiveness of our output. Anyone who comes here knows that time is merciless and life is brief; one is always aware (sometimes consumingly so) of one's place in the race."

- T Magazine Editor Hanya Yanagihara

Wild Wild Country

Sorry to Bother You

July 6, 2018
Written & Directed by Boots Riley
Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer

Gizmodo – "Sorry to Bother You Is the Most Surreal, Important Scifi Movie in Years"

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Drake's Cultural Influence

The Ringer – "Drake Is Too Big to Fail"

"Drake, née Aubrey Graham, was once a semi-famous child actor who could sort of rap and—get this—also sort of sing. He was not invented in a dorm room but he soundtracked countless nights in them. As Drake acquired listeners and sales, though, his reach extended far beyond indie sample flips and Cash Money posse cuts (what a time). He grew to dominate rap, R&B, and pop, using his popularity in one genre to capture market share in another. In the last two years he has leveraged his power to enter even more sectors, including grime, dancehall, and most recently bounce, via the preordained hit “Nice for What.”"

"Thanks to streaming and social media, Drake has entered a virtuous cycle of network effects that magnify his influence over time. When a new Drake song premieres, social media users drop any in-progress conversations about literature, global affairs, or Love & Hip-Hop to immediately critique his work, earning him additional exposure via various “trending” lists on social networks. On Spotify, Drake songs immediately receive prime placement on prominent playlists with millions of followers, granting him passive listens from users who may not be actual fans. My colleague Lindsay Zoladz, who we’re also going to say is a legal scholar, recently found that the January single “God’s Plan” appeared on six Spotify playlists, including the trend-setting Rap Caviar. “God’s Plan” is now in its 11th consecutive week atop the Billboard Hot 100, a record for Drake and a worrying streak for people who value a competitive creative marketplace ..."

"... Drake’s chart dominance alone is not grounds for antitrust enforcement. However, the artist also has a chilling tendency to hop on every hot track and claim it as his own. The most recent example is “Look Alive,” a song ostensibly by the young Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB but mostly by Drake (currently no. 5 on the Hot 100). There are plenty of previous cases, including Fetty Wap’s “My Way,” iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” and, if we’re being really real, DRAM’s “Cha Cha.” After a brief stint in the spotlight, these collaborators earn only a modicum of Drake’s popularity, though they do help him maintain his reign even longer. Even on his own label, OVO Sound, where Drake would have a financial interest in his labelmates’ success, artists often find themselves writing songs for the boss rather than themselves. Former Noisey writer Craig Jenkins (also a legal scholar) once mused that OVO was “Drake’s personal hit factory.”"

The Ringer – "‘Atlanta’: S2E7, ‘Champagne Papi’"
"The Recappables team discusses this week’s Drake-focused episode"

The Ringer – "Drake Is Everywhere and Nowhere in Another Surreal ‘Atlanta’ Jaunt"

Where's DC In Superhero Movies?

New York Times – "When Superheroes Battle Evil, Why Does Washington Always Lose?"

"... But the city rarely matters in superhero movies.

“You see New York, and you see L.A.,” said Rick Prelinger, a film archivist and professor of film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Washington isn’t being pitched as the center of the world in the ways that it used to be.”

How is it that the heart of American democracy is often sidelined in the movies that dominate the box office? The reasons range from our perceptions of the city to the nature of comic books."

"A representative for Marvel Entertainment said that no one was available to discuss the question for this article, and DC Comics did not return a request for comment. But some film experts see an identity crisis. Outside of the government and the monuments, it’s hard for Hollywood to imagine what Washington looks like. And worse (at least for D.C. enthusiasts): Whatever it looks like may not be exciting enough for these movies.

“Although it’s a distinct region — not every city has trucks selling half-smokes — I think that Washington isn’t part of what a lot of people’s sense of their country is about,” said Mr. Prelinger, who became familiar with the city’s iconic sausage dish after living in the district for nearly two decades. He has since moved to California. “D.C. is dull.”"


"“Only Washington, D.C.,” she added, “thinks Washington, D.C., is the center of the universe.”"