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

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

Get Out (Dir. Jordan Peele)

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Jordan Peele’s Get Out would not have been green-lit in any year but this one. Had someone described the premise of this film to me a few years ago, I would not have believed them- that not only does this film exist, but that it is a tremendous hit both critically and commercially. And it’s a blessing, really, because if Get Out had been released two years ago it might have been more polarizing if it had even been released at all. The fact that a film with such a supposedly controversial premise has done so well is a testament both to how good this movie is and, very likely, due to the current political climate. It’s a daunting task to create a thought-provoking and genuinely scary film that can include humor sparingly and with purpose, but Jordan Peele has pulled it off.

Get Out is not a “horror comedy”. It is a horror film with moments of comic relief to keep the audience grounded. The humor in this film will come from one of two sources: the uncomfortable familiarity of upper middle class white culture, or Lil Rel Howery as audience surrogate Rod Williams. Rod’s job is to act as the voice of reason most horror movies are missing. See this movie in theatres while you can, because part of the experience is developing this camaraderie with the other viewers through Rod. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that warranted applause at three separate scenes.  

SPOILERS BELOW

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Place Your Bets: Oscars 2017

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I hate the Oscars; I know that they are entirely meaningless and serve little purpose other than to reward those who gave the most money to the Academy. I know that the same types of films are nominated every year, as they follow the same focus group-tested algorithm and were factory-built for award season. And I know that it is a tacky ceremony that spends most of its time congratulating itself and the many white people who didn’t do much to deserve it. But I watch it every year. I love complaining to no one when my favorites don’t win, I love the ridiculous over-polished musical performances and I love placing my bets. So here they are.

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Place Your Bets: The 2017 Grammy Awards

46th Annual Grammy Awards - Pressroom

To me, The Grammys are the Super Bowl.  I always want to gamble on it.  I usually know what’s going to happen.  I’m glued to the TV for hours, and I get drunk while doing it.  Unlike the Super Bowl though, the person who wins is either met with indifference or excitement, rarely anger.  This year, BurgerADay are laying out the pics for who will win versus who should win.  Check out our picks, and either way, just remember it’s much more important than the Patriots and Falcons.  No one’s deflating these balls.

 

Album Of The Year:

25 — Adele

Lemonade — Beyoncé

Purpose — Justin Bieber

Views — Drake

A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

Should Win: Lemonade-Beyoncé

I may have been late to the party for a long time, but at the tail end of 2016, I listened to Lemonade, and it’s pretty damn great.  Beyoncé is completely worthy of all the praise she’s gotten for this album.  As most of the best albums of the year, Bey mixed the political with the personal, and the record can transition from an emotional gut-punch like on “Pray You Catch Me” or “Don’t Hurt Yourself” to a genuinely fun as hell hype song like “Formation.”  There may be a little protest to the politicization of Beyoncé, but as someone who’s never been on board with her as a simple pop-artist, she’s certainly left a great impression this year.

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“You’re All a Bunch of Fucking Sadists”: Looking at Christine Chubbuck Through Film

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The 2016 Sundance Film Festival featured two separate and unrelated films about the life and death of Christine Chubbuck, a news reporter who committed suicide by gunshot during a live broadcast on July 15th, 1974. Apart from these two films, titled Christine and Kate Plays Christine, little has been spoken of Chubbuck in the past forty years. The footage of the event is under lock and key, and the only people who have seen it, as far as I’m aware, were those present during the event. And it seems odd that such an unusual story is suddenly getting film adaptations after so many years of being largely forgotten- but it seems fitting for 2016. In an era where information is more widely accessible than ever before, it’s frustrating to know that this video exists but isn’t available with the click of a button. And in this age of information, everything we do can be publicized and exploited- it’s difficult to keep anything private. Christine made a premeditated decision- she wanted the gruesome end to her miserable life to have an audience. And maybe in this performative culture we live in today, she has once again become relatable.

Antonio Campos’ Christine is a fairly straightforward biopic while Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine is labeled a documentary. I say labeled because it isn’t really a documentary, but it is disguised as one. It is centered around Kate Lyn Sheil, a method actress trying to understand Chubbuck in preparation to portray her in a movie that does not exist. Sheil puts on a wig to look more like her, speaks to people who knew Chubbuck, learns about the gun used during the suicide, speaks to mental health professionals, et cetera. And while it is interesting to watch this woman in a wig run in circles around Sarasota looking for lost footage, this movie feels aimless until the very end. As Kate prepares to re-enact the suicide, she is clearly distressed and struggles to get through the entire scene. During the last take, she turns the gun away from her own head and toward the audience: “If you want me to do it, you have to tell me why you want to see it…I keep looking for an angle to make her death worth more than her life and there just isn’t one.” When she doesn’t receive a response, she finally says “fuck it,” and shoots herself in the head. After a long pause, she lifts her head back up and looks back at the audience: “Are you happy now? You’re all a bunch of fucking sadists.” And she was not wrong. This movie’s pointlessness is part of its point. It’s slow and meandering and it’s hard not to constantly wonder when the bloodshed will occur, because there is unfortunately no other reason for a film about her to exist. We know little about her life and she wasn’t a hero or a martyr. Her death is the only reason she is discussed at all. And that’s why Campos’ Christine can’t work as a whole. While it was engaging enough and Rebecca Hall gave a fantastic performance, a film about a person whose death was more notable than their life will be exploitative and soulless no matter how competently made the film is. It is a straightforward biopic that attempts to explain her death, but that can’t be possible when so many of its details were made up for the sake of driving the plot forward. Kate Plays Christine shames the audience for subconsciously craving that forbidden footage. And we should be ashamed.

 

Marisa Winckowski

Views from the Women’s March: New York, 1/21/17

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Still to this day you hear people saying, “I thought it was a joke that he was running.” But to me, it was never a joke. When you hear hateful rhetoric, it cannot be taken as a joke.

I remember the days leading up to the election feeling a mixture of dread and giddiness. On the one hand, we could be pushing women’s rights in this country further than ever by electing not only the first female president but one with a progressive campaign promise. On the other hand, we ended up with a man with no experience, spewing hate and making enemies with whomever he could.

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When the news hit, when they sent everyone home from the Javits Center in the middle of the night, when he made is acceptance speech, I cried well into the night. I had friends who took the next day off. The unthinkable had happened, and not in the way we all wanted. And, while ‘we’ sounds like an oppressive term, remember, that he did not win the popular vote. Hell, forty percent of eligible voters did not show up.

Then came announcements of a Women’s March on Washington and it started growing, soon there were sister marches from Denver to New York being planned, and I knew that no matter where I was I would show up.

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What I did not realize was that ‘we’ would show up. This was everyone’s march.  This was our time to come together, as Americans, and show what ‘we’ believe in. As a woman, I expected it to be mostly women and a few bad ass guys. Yet, the New York sister march was almost 50/50. I went to the march with three of my guy friends, which in it of itself was powerful. There was so much energy in the streets. According to the Mayor’s office, over 400,000 people marched from 42nd and 2nd Ave to 55th and 5th Ave. For us, it took over five hours.

This march was for so much more than women’s rights. The official organizers announced a radically progressive agenda they were marching for, and the people came through with signs about everything from sexual assault justice to ending the Electoral College to climate change to simply promoting love and kindness. This march stood up for ‘we’ the people and our major and legitimate concerns about the next four years.

Some of the chants that resonated through the canyons of buildings were, “My Body, My Choice!” Followed by, “Her Body! Her choice!” Some other popular ones were, “We are the popular vote!” Our voices all blended together and filled up all the air. Every way you turned there was someone holding up a sign and “fighting for their rights”.

At the end of the march, I was filled with hope and energy and a renewed faith that this is who my country is. And at the same time there was desperation, that not only were we marching for women’s rights, but LBGTQ rights, for a right to fair education, the legitimacy of climate change and our acceptance of all immigrants to our nation of immigrants.

As I rode the train home that night, the numbers began to spill in. Almost 800,000 in Los Angeles, 200,000 in Denver and a march too large it turned into a rally in Washington DC, not to mention the cities globally that joined in. ‘We’ the people had come through and shown we will not back down.

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Nina Mascheroni