PWR BTTM’s Ben Hopkins Accused of Sexual Assault

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Ben Hopkins of queer-punk duo PWR BTTM has recently come under fire following accusations of sexual assault.  Following the accusations, the band released a statement, a number of shows have been dropped, Salty Artist Management have dropped them, touring members and support have dropped off their upcoming tour, and a woman came forward in an anonymous interview as a victim of Hopkins.  The band’s sophomore album Pageant was released today.

National Sexual Assault Hotline – (800) 656-4673
The Trevor Project – (866) 488-7386
LGBT National Help Center – (888) 843-4564
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs – (212) 714-1141

Casting JonBenet: The Advantages of Bias

Casting JonBenet (Dir. Kitty Green), the highly anticipated meta-documentary released as a Netflix-exclusive film about the 1996 murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was met with mixed reactions- mostly because the idea of making a film about the actual brutal murder of an actual child didn’t sit well with many people. 1996 wasn’t that long ago. Is it exploitative? Probably. But by that logic, every film about or based on a real-life tragedy is exploitative. I am willing to defend this film’s existence despite its tendency to insert some black humor, as it doesn’t set out to minimize the seriousness of the crime. Unlike other crime documentaries, it is less focused on solving the mystery at hand and more focused on reactions to what we know about the murder and the inevitable biases that come with it. Continue reading

Old Menaces: How To Abandon Your Fanbase, While Still Making Millions

 

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The date is October 4, 2009: Blink-182 has recently reunited.  They’re finishing up a massive tour with Fall Out Boy opening for them at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  Before FOB launch into their signature closer, “Saturday,” Pete Wentz declares, “This is the death of the emo haircut,” before handing his bass to a stagehand.  Mark Hoppus enters the stage.  Wentz sits down, and Hoppus shaves his head.  Wentz jumps up at his cue, and screams his parts in “Saturday” like he always does.  You could say this is the moment that everything went wrong.  You could say Blink-182’s original breakup was the moment it all went wrong.  You could also say Green Day’s American Idiot was, or even Dookie, or New Found Glory releasing “It’s Not Your Fault,” but for the sake of argument, Mark Hoppus shaving Pete Wentz’s black locks was the moment that ruined it all. Continue reading

Coffee Date: In Memoriam: The Unicorn Frappuccino

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Coffee Date is a new column that features discussions of beverages stemming from leaves and beans.  Whether you brew your own or need a hip barista pouring it in front of you, we’ve got you covered for brands to try at home, coffee shops with some personality, and what you should try or avoid from your regular coffee chains.

Although I originally intended to cover the Bones’ Maple Bacon Coffee, upon drinking, I realized there’s not really any thrills to this one.  It’s a little sweet, a little smoky, but the bacon taste isn’t there.  It’s fine, but it’s not great.  Instead today, we’re going to talk about that fucking Unicorn Frappuccino. Continue reading

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea (Dir. Dash Shaw, 2017)

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While I have never subscribed to the notion that the narrative of a film is always more important than its visuals, My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea lacks in depth both narratively and visually. But when I say it lacks in depth visually, I thoroughly mean it as a compliment- everything is very flat and two-dimensional because it’s meant to look like a graphic novel, which is what writer/director Dash Shaw is best known for. The animation style is colorful and trippy- it’s also choppy and unpolished but that is what works in its favor. As this film is centered on a group of teenagers and is narrated by its 16-year-old main character, it makes sense that it looks like something sketched by a teen.

The concept of a sudden epic disaster being inflicted upon a high school in which the heroes are mostly social outcasts literally sounds like something a 16-year-old would daydream about in class as he draws the popular kids drowning in the margins of his notebook paper. There is literally a scene in which one of the popular girls begs to be rescued by the nerdy main characters by offering to invite them to her next party, before slipping into shark-infested waters. For misanthropic teens, this is unapologetic wish fulfillment. But Dash Shaw seems to be aware of this because he named the pretentious main character after himself. Dash (Jason Schwartzman) is a kid who exists in real life and you probably hung out with him in high school. Everything is pointless, the nerds and the artists are the only people who really understand the world, don’t be a sheep, etc. Not following the crowd and staying true to yourself isn’t a lesson without merit but Dash is mean and petty. And this is pointed out to him early on in the film- that he thinks people don’t like him because of his acne but it’s really because of his personality. He does eventually learn his lesson but the moral is still lacking because it is so clearly written to be flattering and easily palatable to 15-year-old nerds. Not only is he the only one with the bright idea to not stay on the bottom floor when the building is literally sinking, but he was the only one who knew the disaster was coming. Of course he warned them and nobody listened until it was too late.

The very simple messages of this story aren’t particularly new – ‘remember who your true friends are’, ‘don’t sacrifice your individuality to fit in’, ‘high school doesn’t matter in the grand scheme when you’re literally faced with a life-or-death situation’ etc. But there’s also something in here that is very specific to millennials.  There is a throwaway line or two about the recession and the increasingly narrow job market, which is interesting within the context of an apocalyptic disaster- that young people are under constant pressure by adults to be successful but are simultaneously trying to survive in a drastically changing world that those same adults are responsible for (ex. Baby Boomers voted for Trump and tanked the economy). In this case, it was the adult with the most authority (the principal), who knew but chose to ignore the fact that the building was at risk of collapsing.  This movie could apply to the young-adult anxiety felt by any generation, but feels particularly apt in representing the current one. But I might just be reading too much into a film that will inevitably gain a cult following of young stoners.

 

Marisa Winckowski

The Return of Lasagna Cat

“Sex Survey Results, the Pipe Strip and the Return of Lasagna Cat”

Jon Arbuckle, Zero

via KnowYourMeme

Despite his status as a cultural icon for the past forty years, Garfield hasn’t contributed much to the artistic world at large- save for some “I hate Mondays” coffee mugs and the memes your aunt shares on Facebook. And while this orange cat has never truly gone away, he isn’t often discussed. Garfield has existed as background noise for the past several decades as a three-panel comic strip, the occasional cartoon, and a handful of kids’ movies that nobody saw. Everybody knows who Garfield is but few have dedicated as much time analyzing his oeuvre as Fatal Farm’s Zach Johnson and Jeffrey Max. Continue reading

Bowling for Cigs: Bowling for Soup at the Gramercy Theater//Diet Cig at Baby’s All Right: (New York/Brooklyn, NY) 4/7/17

bowlingforsoup      “I don’t go to Brooklyn,” Casey mutters anytime I propose a show in the King’s County borough.  “We should see a show soon,” is a phrase Casey says to me about every two weeks.  When scrolling through events on Facebook, I saw both Bowling for Soup at the Gramercy Theatre and Diet Cig at Baby’s All Right on a Friday.  Casey initially agreed to Bowling for Soup, and when I proposed catching Diet Cig’s late show for their record release of Swear I’m Good at This, she was down to do both in a night.  We managed to hit both shows and it was a hell of a shit show. Continue reading

Diet Cig-Swear I’m Good at This

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I want to tell you about my friend Josh.  Josh is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet.  He can brighten anyone’s day by simply entering the room.  Josh is hilarious and can take his energy level from 0-100 in seconds.  I feel like most people who know Josh just tend to latch onto the chaotic energy he brings, but Josh can also be one of the kindest, most caring people when he needs to be.  That being said, he can bounce back from those serious moments in a heartbeat.  It’s for this reason that Diet Cig reminds me of Josh. Continue reading

Dave Chappelle-The Age of Spin & Deep In the Heart of Texas

Dave Chappelle At The Hollywood Palladium

It is somewhat unclear who Dave Chappelle’s new comedy specials are for.  There’s definitely a point to direct it to old fans of Chappelle’s Show: not only was Chappelle a game-changer of a comic, but there’s also nostalgic value in aiming it at this audience.  There’s also an aim for fans who weren’t around when Chappelle was in his prime.  As cliché as it is, Chappelle pokes fun at a 24 year-old in the audience.  The content of Chappelle’s jokes vary from the self-aware, topical humor, and material about people that would seem irrelevant had it not been for recent events bringing them into prominence (i.e. O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby).  Both of Chappelle’s new specials find a pleasing middle ground that sets him both as an older comic trying to reach a new audience and someone acting as if he never left. Continue reading