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Whatever Else Belongs Under The Rubric Of 'popular Culture' Newsbeat

Monday, April 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (April 2019)

Guess how many songs in the Top 10 biggest tracks in the U.S. last year were written by a solo songwriter? Zero. The year before that? Zero.

In 2016, just one solo-written song made the year-end Top 10: “Stressed Out,” by 21 Pilots, written by Tyler Joseph. In 2015, there was also just one solo-written track (Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”), while in 2014 there were two, including “Counting Stars,” by One Republic (written by Ryan Tedder), and the biggest song of that year, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams.

This is a snapshot of an overwhelming trend in the music industry over the past decade: the near-complete decline of the solo singer-songwriter pop hit, and the near-complete dominance of songs written by committee.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza ([most of] March 2019)

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among 50 people charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.

The alleged scam focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment.


Friday, February 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (February 2019)

Having sold out at event screenings since December, They Shall Not Grow Old, which opens for a full run this week, is poised to become the only blockbuster this year that was filmed from 1914 to 1918, on location on the Western Front. Commissioned to make a movie for the centennial of the Armistice, using original footage, Peter Jackson has taken a mass of World War I archival clips from Britain’s Imperial War Museum and fashioned it into a brisk, absorbing and moving experience.

How he has done this is simultaneously novel and destined to earn the justifiable quibbling of purists. Although the film is book ended by black-and-white footage of men going off to war and then returning home, the battlefield sequences have been substantially doctored, with the ostensible goal of making them more immersive and appealing to modern audiences.


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (January 2019)

The 2018-19 TV season is at the midway point, so here’s our annual list of midseason premiere dates for new and returning series. It covers hundreds of broadcast, cable and streaming programs debuting from January 1 through early May and includes shows that were on hiatus.


Tuesday, December 04, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (December 2018)

The deep lesson of Star Wars is that the Empire is good.

It’s a difficult leap to make—embracing Darth Vader and the Emperor over the plucky and attractive Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia—but a careful examination of the facts, sorted apart from Lucas’s off-the-shelf moral cues, makes a quite convincing case.


Friday, November 02, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (November 2018)

Before she arrived on the Vancouver set of Deadpool 2 in mid-August 2017, Joi Harris had never performed a stunt. She’d never been anywhere near a movie or TV set, for that matter. Producers and studio 20th Century Fox wanted an African-American double for Zazie Beetz, who’d been cast in the role of Domino. They hired Harris, 40, who had done some motorcycle racing, and flew her in a couple of days before the shoot. The sequence was pretty straightforward. It called for a rider, sitting astride a powerful Ducati 939 Hyperstrada motorcycle, to coast down a set of planks that had been laid over a few stairs. Harris would be traveling about 5 miles an hour, though onscreen it would be made to look as if she were going much faster.

As the day approached, several experienced stunt performers who had been training Harris all weekend say they told producers and the stunt coordinator they believed Harris wasn’t ready. They warned the production that racing on a track was very different from performing in front of cameras and an audience. Producers stuck to the plan. Canada’s workplace safety agency, WorkSafeBC, hasn’t released its final report on what happened next, but three people familiar with that day’s shoot say they watched in horror as Harris, on the first live take, lost control of the bike. She hung on as it sped across a street at high speed before hitting a planter, which sent her hurtling headfirst through a plate glass window. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. It was 9:30 in the morning, and her very first stunt would also be her last.


 

 

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