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- 05/31/15--12:35: _Here's everything l...
- 05/31/15--12:36: _Two of the women wh...
- 05/31/15--13:05: _12 Marvel comics se...
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- 05/31/15--18:25: _How Stephen Colbert...
- 06/01/15--06:41: _Tracy Morgan breaks...
- 06/01/15--07:17: _Everyone's freaking...
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- 06/01/15--08:00: _How two former Broa...
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- 06/01/15--14:34: _A Twitter bot has s...
- 05/31/15--12:35: Here's everything leaving Netflix tomorrow
- 05/31/15--13:05: 12 Marvel comics series every fan should read
- 05/31/15--18:25: How Stephen Colbert ended up on season 3 of 'House of Cards'
As summer begins, some streaming videos will come to an end.
Now that June's almost here, it's time to for your monthly check-in on what movies and TV shows will be leaving Netflix. It's a relatively painless month as far as these things usually go, with only a few big favorites leaving. If you've never seen Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," consider fitting it into your schedule before June's done, along with a few late-'80s and early-'90s classics like "Silence of the Lambs," "Rain Man," and "Amadeus."
Oh, and don't forget "The Rocketeer." That movie is a treat — and directed by Joe Johnston, of "Captain America: The First Avenger" fame.
Check out the full list below — we've highlighted a few more that might be worth squeezing in.
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
“City of Ghosts”
“Dance with Me”
“Deep Blue Sea”
“DeRay Davis: Power Play”
“Drugs, Inc” seasons 2 and 3
“Ever After: A Cinderella Story”
“Frankie and Johnny”
“Garfield and Friends” Vol. 1 and 2
“I Escaped A Cult”
“Ink Master” Season 1
“Inside Combat Rescue” Season 1
“Last Action Hero”
“Reign Over Me”
“Silence of the Lambs”
“The Great Queen Seondeok”
“The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story”
“The Phantom of the Opera: Special Edition” (2004)
“The Triplets of Belleville”
“Space: Unraveling the Cosmos”
“The River Why”
“The Guilt Trip”
“Madonna: The MDNA Tour”
“Stand Up Guys”
“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” Season 1 and 2
“Texas Chainsaw” (2012)
“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”
“The Baby-Sitters Club” Season 1
If you are a fan of movies or television in 2015, then the cultural dominance of the superhero will not come as a surprise to you—water is wet, skies are azure, and two “Avengers” movies have made a billion dollars each.
With the hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into comic book-inspired movies, television, and toy commercials (sometimes they are one and the same), it's easy to feel either exasperated or fascinated by it all. In the midst of all this noise, one name stands taller than the rest in the current pop culture climate: Marvel.
Perhaps you’ve never read a Marvel comic, but you’d like to start. Lucky for you, Marvel has made it very easy to get into its comics—if you have a smartphone, tablet, or access to a web browser, you can subscribe to Marvel Unlimited: A Netflix-style streaming service with the vast majority of Marvel comics 75-plus year library ready for you to read. That’s wonderful, but daunting—75 years of continuous storytelling? Where do you start?
"Captain America" by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
Why it’s great: Did you like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”? Here’s where that story was first told. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting reinvent Captain America as an espionage thriller, a propulsive and smart story that’s engrossing and hard to put down. While it does get a bit mired in a few crossovers, one of those crossovers is “Civil War”— which is the source material for the next Captain America movie.
How to read it: The issue numbers make big leaps and that can make things a bit confusing, but in Marvel Unlimited the entire Brubaker/Epting run is collected under “Captain America” (2004-2011). Start reading it here.
What to read next: Check out two other great recent runs featuring Avengers from the Marvel movies: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s “Invincible Iron Man” and Greg Pak’s epic “Planet Hulk” arc in “Incredible Hulk” with various artists, listed under “Incredible Hulk” (1999-2011) #92-112.
"Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E." by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen
Why it’s great: In the early 2000s, superhero comics had taken on a certain hard-edged cynicism, a grim “edginess” that wasn’t always entirely effective. Created by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen, “Nextwave” takes everything about that zeitgeist (which you can still see in comics and comic-book movies today) and strips away all pretense.
It’s about (take a deep breath) a group of heroes who rebel against the government agency they used to work for when they find out said agency is controlled by a corporation that’s actually a front for a terrorist organization looking to test ridiculous weapons like broccoli-powered robots and man-eating teddy bears on unsuspecting civilians around the world.
But none of that really matters—it’s all just an excuse for outlandish fight scenes and laugh-out-loud comedy. Ellis and Immonen lampoon their contemporaries by exaggerating the ridiculousness of the era—and by being really, really good at making comics.
How to read it: It’s all there under “Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.” #1-12.
What to read next: For the same blend of sharp comedy and biting social critique (with a touch of Jorge Luis Borges and H.P. Lovecraft), consider Ales Kot and Michael Walsh’s “Secret Avengers” (2014). For pure, laugh-out-loud funny, you can’t get much better than Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.”
"Hawkeye" by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth, et al
Why it’s great: One of the most critically-acclaimed comics of the past three years, “Hawkeye” was a game-changer. Created by the critically-acclaimed team of Matt Fraction and David Aja (with some help from fantastic artists like Annie Wu, Francesco Francavilla, and always-great colorist Matt Hollingsworth), “Hawkeye” follows the Avenger who’s just a normal guy, and tells the stories of what he does when he’s not out avenging.
What Fraction and Aja ended up creating felt (and still feels) like nothing else in superhero comics, with a design-minded indie comics feel that led to phenomenal experiments like an issue that featured heavy use of sign language, or the one told entirely from the perspective of a dog who solves a murder. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time.
How to read it: Start with 2012’s “Hawkeye” #1 and read until the end. At the time this post is being written, the “end” is issue #20—the actual final two issues have suffered interminable delays. While #21 is available for purchase, it’s not currently on Marvel Unlimited. #22 is currently scheduled for July 2015. Whether or not it comes out then remains to be seen. Don’t be afraid to dive in, though—#20 is a pretty good place to pause the narrative before the big two-part finale. Start reading "Hawkeye" here.
What to read next: Fraction and Aja first collaborated on another excellent book, “The Immortal Iron Fist” (which was co-written by Ed Brubaker and showcased a number of other artists). The first 16 issues are fantastic, and a good preview of what you could expect from Netflix’s forthcoming “Iron Fist” series.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Gaming and fandom streaming service Machinima is one of the biggest video producers on the internet. With over 32,000 creators in its network, Machinima is the fifth-largest channel network on YouTube, according to ComScore data for April.
It's no surprise Machinima is on the rise. It hosts popular shows like talk show ETC, cartoon Battlefield Friends, and top gamers such as Minecrafter JeromeASF and Zack Scott.
With famous YouTubers always dropping in and all the latest video-game consoles available to play, Machinima looks like a fun place to work. We recently stopped by the company's Los Angeles headquarters to check it out for ourselves.
Machinima's offices are located in an oddly shaped building in West Hollywood. You might miss it if you were driving by. Because of building regulations, Machinima can't have signs announcing its location.
Look for their iconic "M" logo on the door.
Enter the lobby and you'll be greeted by a TV playing some of its latest and greatest YouTube videos. When we got there, Machinima's popular show ETC with cohosts Ricky Hayberg and Eliot Dewberry was playing.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Ten years ago, make-up artist Melissa Murphy left her job working at the cosmetics counter in a Boston mall for the bright lights of the erotica industry.
When the actresses and models settle into her chair, she snaps a before and after photo to capture the transformation. You would be amazed to see how much make-up these beauties actually wear.
Murphy shared some of her Instagram photos with us. The results are incredible.
Make-up artist Melissa Murphy has been dolling up adult film stars for more than 10 years.
She photographs her subjects in natural light and posts the juxtaposed images to her Instagram account.
Her account has more than 75,000 followers.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The Rolling Stones have been hanging out in California for a few days, apparently.
After playing a sold-out show at Petco Park Sunday night, rumors began swirling this week that the Stones were still in the area, prepping for another show at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach.
Whitworth is rumored to have paid somewhere around $2 million for the Stones gig, San Diego CBS affiliate, KFMB reported. The TV station cites "multiple sources" who confirmed to them that the Stones would be playing at the Belly Up, and say "no tickets will be sold to the public."
These people are trying to get in anyway, though:
Tony Stark/Iron Man, played by Robert Downey, Jr., is not only the most prominent character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with five leading parts and pivotal roles throughout.
He's also the most interesting character due to inherent aspects of his story, choices by the filmmakers, and Downey's complex portrayal.
While other characters appear static — Steve Rogers is heroic before and after becoming Captain America; Bruce Banner is a loner before and after becoming the Hulk; Thor is a bro god from beginning to end; Natasha Romanoff’s dark past is only alluded to; Clint Barton is grounded when he’s not under mind-control — Stark is ever dynamic.
Stark's centrality has been helpful, offering a popular human element to tie everything together. At the same time, it poses a risk: Downey is under contract for only two more movies, and he reportedly demanded a fortune from Disney for his last extension.
We've highlighted his character evolution below, with some spoilers.
At the start of "Iron Man," Tony Stark is a selfish genius weapon maker.
In a time of crisis, he makes something that can truly help the world.
Stark shows valor as he keeps his creation away from people who would use it for evil. In the end, he publicly identifies with his heroic alter ego: "I am Iron Man.”
But this heroic transformation leaves him cockier than ever, as seen in "Iron Man 2."
He gets humbled: first, by a rival engineer; second, the possibility of death; third, his own embarrassing behavior; fourth, the revelation of his father’s secret accomplishments.
Stark completes his transformation into a selfless hero when he sacrifices himself to save the world in "Avengers."
When he survives the sacrifice, Stark's selflessness becomes an obsession. He can't stop working, building iteration upon iteration of Iron Man, while his personal relationships suffer in "Iron Man 3."
When forced to save the day without his suits, however, he finally realizes that he, not the suit, is the hero. It now has new meaning when he says, “I am Iron Man.”
Stark, an engineer unleashed, focuses on his biggest project, an artificial intelligence capable of saving earth from a threat only he understands in "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
Has Stark caused more harm then good? An intelligent robot he unleashed, Ultron, tries to destroy the Avengers with the help of two super-powered siblings whose village was destroyed by Stark weapons.
Stark trusts his instincts even as his teammates lose faith in him. He is validated when his work leads to an android, Vision, who saves the world and becomes mankind's best hope for the future. Stark is not "worthy" to lift Thor's mystical hammer, but he has created someone who is.
Downey may be under contract for only two more movies, but Marvel will certainly get a lot out of him.
Next year's "Captain America: Civil War" will feature Stark as an anti-hero in another promising transformation: "The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next," Downey told Empire. "But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for?"
Then we'll have the two-part climax of the Avengers, and you can bet Stark will play a central role.
There are some minor spoilers ahead for "House of Cards" season 3.
One of the biggest surprises of the season 3 premiere of "House of Cards," which debuted on Netflix back in February, was an appearance by Stephen Colbert reprising his role of "The Colbert Report" host.
Comedy Central had previously aired the final episode of Colbert's talk show in December 2014, so it was a big shock to see him back as host one last time while grilling Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) over a controversial jobs' program.
During a talk at Vulture's second annual pop culture event Vulture Festival late Sunday afternoon, Vulture editor Gazelle Emami asked "House of Cards" showrunner Beau Willimon if the dialogue from Colbert on air was scripted.
Willimon went into great detail telling the audience how the Colbert cameo came about and was filmed.
"I fully expected Stephen to say no. And, Stephen said yes, and I said, 'Look, you're going to be way funnier than anything I can write," said Willimon. "I will send you a sort of sample script of what the shape of the scene is going to look like."
Willimon said he sent Colbert over about four pages of the scene along with material on Underwood's fictional jobs' program, America Works, and more.
"I thought, if you guys can ad-lib then I don't care ... that'll be way more authentic than if we just script everything," Willimon continued.
Willimon said he later got on the phone with Colbert and his people who told him he thought they should use most of the script. He couldn't believe it. He said everyone reassured him there were some good jokes in the script.
"I'm going to change a few [jokes] if that's okay with you," Willimon recalled Colbert asking.
The "House of Cards" showrunner was more than okay with that request. "Please! Please change whatever you want."
Willimon told the crowd they ended up filming the scene between Kevin Spacey and Colbert at the actual Colbert set in front of a live audience.
"We said to them, 'All right, none of you can say anything.' We didn't tell them it was for the show. We said, 'We're going to do a couple of bits ... None of you don't ever tweet about this or talk about this at all," he explained. "Miraculously, none of the audience did for months and months."
One of the bits that was taped ended up being shot for "The Colbert Report." Willimon says the "House of Cards" team had nothing to do with it though. Willimon said what we ended up seeing in the season three premiere was part of an eight-minute set that was filmed using the Comedy Central show's cameras and crew.
"There's a mixture of script and improv," said Willimon. "A lot of the things that Stephen said that were used were things that we kind of co-did together. The line about the lampreys sucking a crouton ... that was all him."
You can watch Colbert's appearance on "House of Cards" below:
During an interview with Matt Lauer, Morgan, who was accompanied by his lawyer, broke down several times.
"I can't believe I'm here and the tragedy that happened," Morgan opened by saying.
A year after a Wal-Mart truck struck Morgan's limousine while he was on his way home from a comedy show, the "30 Rock" actor said "it's been up and down."
"I have my good days and my bad days, where I forget things," added Morgan, who suffered a broken leg, several broken ribs, and brain trauma from the accident. "There are times where I get the headaches, and the nose bleeds. I won't even let my lady know because I don't want her to be worried about it."
Morgan became most emotional when discussing the death of his friend. In March, James McNair's children settled with Wal-Mart for $10 million.
"The case is settled, but the pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mack — he's a close friend of mine and a comrade in comedy," Morgan told Lauer. "He's a loving man, a warm man, a good man, and it just hurts me to know that he's gone."
Morgan said he didn't remember the accident but afterward would watch video footage of the wreck online.
"Every day I would watch the accident on YouTube and one day I came across his [Jimmy Mack] funeral on YouTube and that, I just, I lost it for about a week.
"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan added. "But I'm happy Wal-Mart stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way. They took full responsibility, and I'm really happy that they looked after Jimmy Mack's family because I know my friend can rest in peace now."
Morgan's attorney, Benedict Morelli, added: "The CEO of Wal-Mart, Doug McMillon, reached out to me, and Tracy and I are going to be speaking to him personally this week because they want to say they're sorry to Tracy directly and apologize and make sure he's OK. I thought that was a huge gesture."
As for what's next, Morgan says: "I love comedy and I can't wait to get back to her, but right now my goal is just to heal and get better because I'm not 100% yet, and when I'm there, you will know. I'll get back to making you laugh, I promise."
Watch Morgan's interview with Lauer below:
The terms of the proposed settlement were not disclosed.
Morgan, a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" star, suffered broken bones and what Morelli said was a traumatic brain injury.
"Wal-Mart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families," Morgan had said in a written statement. "I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably."
"Our thoughts continue to go out to everyone that was involved in the accident," Wal-Mart US CEO Greg Foran said in a statement at the time. "While we know there is nothing that can change what happened, Wal-Mart has been committed to doing what's right to help ensure the well-being of all of those who were impacted by the accident."
In March, Morelli told the AP that Morgan was not fully recovered but was "working very hard to get better, physically, emotionally, and mentally."
Warning: There are spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Sunday's "Game of Thrones."
"Game of Thrones" outdid itself Sunday night with a phenomenal showdown that everyone can't stop talking about. Any fans who were previously underwhelmed with season five so far will likely be eating their words after this.
The episode, titled "Hardhome," featured some great moments with Arya, Daenerys, Tyrion, and Cersei in the first 30 minutes. But the entire last half of the episode focused on Jon Snow and the Wildlings beyond the Wall.
Jon went to Hardhome with Tormund in order to convince the remaining Wildlings to come south and live in Westeros. Even though the Night's Watch has a longstanding and violent rivalry against the Wildlings, Jon knows the White Walkers are the true enemy. He needs to convince the Wildlings to come with them, or else they will surely be added to the army of the dead.
In the book series, we only hear about Hardhome secondhand. A man sent there to make peace with the Wildlings sends Jon a letter. It reads:
At hardhome with six ships. Wild seas...Very bad here. Wildlings eating their own dead. Dead things in the woods...Eight ravens left. Dead things in the water. Send help by land, seas wracked by storms.
Book readers have long wondered what happened at Hardhome, and Sunday's episode was perhaps the most satisfying book divergence yet. As writer David Benioff explained in a feature after the episode aired , "This was an opportunity to go North of the wall and show the audience something that is going to be fresh for everyone. Whether you're a book reader or not a book reader, this is stuff no one has seen."
Jon arrives at Hardhome, and with Tormund helps gather all the leaders of the different Wildling tribes. Though there was some resistance, several thousand of them decide to come with the Night's Watch. Amidst the chaos of all the Wildlings trying to get on boats, there is a sudden avalanche of snow and fog from the cliffs surrounding the fortress.
Almost everyone present realizes something terrible is about to happen, and a Wildling leader quickly orders the gates to be shut — locking thousands of people outside with the coming doom.
Soon it is clear the White Walkers are here, and they've brought their army. The White Walkers, also referred to as "Others," are capable of reanimating the dead and using them to kill. These zombified people are called wights.
Here's the first good look we get of them.
They are skeletal, with shining blue eyes and a clear purpose — kill everything in sight.
All hell breaks loose under the attack, as more Wildlings flee to the boats and others stay behind to help keep the wights at bay. Here are some more shots of the attacking corpses.
There are several minutes of bloody sparring and attacks from all sides. For viewers who have been let down by lackluster fight sequences in Dorne this season, this episode completely makes up for it. You can see how the elaborate set and fight choreography were expertly planned. Jon in particular has some spectacular moves.
Within minutes, an eerie silence descends over the group of Wildlings and Night's Watch brothers as they notice four horsemen standing on the cliffs above them. These are the actual White Walkers, the otherworldly beings who control the wights below.
Seeing these eerie figures reminds Jon of the bag of dragonglass he brought with him. Remember how Sam killed a white walker back in season three? He used a dagger made of obsidian, also called dragonglass in Westeros. Thinking ahead, he gave Jon a large supply of daggers to bring with him to Hardhome.
In the books, Sam also did as much research as he could on other methods used to defeat White Walkers. Though most of it was legends, he had a hunch the legends were based in facts. Sam tells Jon about something called "dragonsteel" that can successfully combat White Walkers.
So Jon heads towards the dragonglass daggers, and promptly runs into one of the White Walkers.
This is one of the few times we've been given a good, long look at a White Walker. The last time was when Sam fought, and beat, a White Walker in season three. This time, we can see their stylized armor and intensely epic ice swords.
As Jon is grabbing for the dragonglass, he is pulled backwards and flung away from the White Walker. His sword, Longclaw, skids away from him. Jon gets up and skillfully fights against the White Walker, dodging and ducking then finally managing to grab a nearby sword. When he swings it against the ice sword, the steel shatters.
Jon is thrown backwards, but staggers up and runs towards the exit. He finds Longclaw, and gets to his feet just in time to swing the sword up towards the White Walker attacking.
And then something amazing happens.
The sword holds, ringing like an ice cold bell against the White Walker's weapon. Both Jon and the Other are shocked.
Jon swings his blade around and cuts through the White Walker, killing him.
This is huge. Epic. Monumental in the world of Westeros. For centuries, any knowledge about the White Walkers has died away, reduced to myths that no one believes. Now they have returned, and Jon Snow is leading the only resistance against them through the Night's Watch and now with the Wildlings.
First was the crucial discovery that obsidian weapons would kill the Others, but now we know that Longclaw can as well. Jon's sword is made from Valyrian steel, a very rare and expensive metal that used to be forged with dragonfire in Old Valyria. There are only a handful of known Valyrian steel swords in Westeros, and Jon is lucky enough to be the owner of one.
Book readers have theorized that dragonsteel is the same thing as Valyrian steel, but seeing Jon test this theory in the midst of an unprecedented White Walker massacre was an incredible moment.
Above on the cliffs, the Night's King watches this small moment of resistance with a curiosity. It is likely that White Walkers don't know about the existence of Valyrian steel, let alone its powers.
This Night's King character is also very interesting. We've only seen him once before, in episode four of season four, when he turned a human baby into a wight. At the time that episode aired, fans were confused and surprised to see the title Night's King crop up.
It is still unclear whether the Night King that is now in the show is the exact same character as the legend who is only briefly spoken of in the book series, but either way, he is a terrifying addition.
Jon and his surviving comrades finally see the futility of remaining at Hardhome any longer. This is no battle — it's a slaughter. There is even an insane wave of wights who fling themselves over the edge of the cliff like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie.
As writer D.B. Weiss puts it, "they're like undead lemmings."
We also get a horrifying shot of children-turned-wights. They stand, unmoving and silent, for several seconds. Then they launch towards their prey and presumably begin eating her alive.
The only way to kill a wight is by burning it. They are unstoppable otherwise, and Jon needs to get out of there before it's too late. He runs towards the sea with Tormund, Edd, and the giant named Wun Wun.
They reach the boats successfully, and push off from the dock. Thank goodness wights and White Walkers apparently don't swim, but it's unclear why.
The Night King walks to the edge of the water, as Jon looks out towards the last of the Wildlings being massacred. Slowly, the Night King raises his hands.
He is raising the dead. All the Wildlings who were just killed have now become wights. In mere minutes, the White Walkers have doubled their army.
Things have never looked worse for Jon and the Night's Watch.
The last couple minutes of the episode were set in near silence, allowing viewers to take in the magnitude of what had just happened. Since the very first scene of the entire series, which showed the White Walkers attacking rangers beyond the Wall, fans have hungered for more information about these creatures. What do they look like? What weapons do they use? What happens to the dead when they are turned into wights? What do they want?
Tonight's episode gave so much satisfaction to these questions, and at a completely unexpected moment in the season. Though it didn't answer all of the queries. Book and show fans alike are still stumped about why exactly the White Walkers are attacking. Though there are complex theories out there, it's all just speculation.
George R.R. Martin has said before that he isn't a fan of black and white characters. So far, we've only seen a very dark side to the White Walkers. What nuances exist in their motivations is yet to be seen.
So the mystery is still intact, though the terror levels have definitely been upped. With just two episodes left, we have a great feeling that this season is definitely going out with a bang. This particular sequence took nearly seventeen days to film, according to an EW article that was published earlier this year. It's hard to know what other action-packed moments lay ahead, but fans can't wait to see what's next.
During an interview with the Los Angeles radio station REAL 92.3, the rapper was asked his thoughts on the service.
"They probably could've did something more exciting if they reached out, because the people you saw there don't even own the rights to their music," he said. "So they can't say it's gonna come out of Tidal. It has to go everywhere."
50 Cent is saying people don't need to pay upward of $9.99 a month for music that will be available elsewhere, including rival streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. In other words: "Why would you actually buy Tidal to get something that would be everywhere else?"
In March, Jay Z debuted Tidal with a star-studded presentation that included Usher, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, and many others.
"Usher was there and Madonna and all these people. That's a little bit more of a, when you say, 'It was business,' it's more of a corporate play," 50 Cent said. "When the record is playing on the air, they say, 'Oh, all right. Let's get this guy.'
"The companies have contracts, and companies are gonna do everything to get the maximum performance out of the music," he added. "They're not going to just put it through Tidal as a service."
Jay Z bought Tidal in January for a reported $56 million with the intention of creating the world's first streaming platform owned by musicians. The service pays established musicians for use of their music.
Subscribers can also receive some exclusive content, such as Beyoncé's recent track that coincided with her and Jay Z's wedding anniversary.
But 50 Cent isn't the first artist to question Tidal.
Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard told The Daily Beast in April: "I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid. That's why this thing is going to fail miserably."
Mumford and Sons front man Marcus Mumford added: "We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they're not up for paying for it, I don't really care."
Singer Lily Allen, too, tweeted: "I love Jay Z so much, but TIDAL is so expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services ... He's taken the biggest artists & made them exclusive to TIDAL (am i right in thinking this ?), people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves sending traffic to torrent sites. Up and coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result … my concern is that Tidal may set emerging artists back."
Watch 50 Cent's recent remarks below (4:55)
Walking past Times Square, it's almost impossible to miss the winding lines of people waiting to purchase Broadway tickets.
It's an odd sight to behold in the age of the internet and smartphones, and it speaks volumes about how trapped in time much of the theater industry is.
Two former Broadway producers, Brian Fenty and Merritt Baer, took notice of the theater industry's overall lack of innovation when it came to ticketing.
Both men had a background in finance in addition to their work producing, so they decided to combine the two and create TodayTix, an app that lets you purchase theater tickets at the absolute lowest cost.
"We thought about how we wanted to sell tickets and the most cost effective way to sell tickets, and then as theater lovers, how would we want to buy tickets — what's the easiest way to see a show?" Baer told Business Insider. "The industry generally made it harder to buy tickets. Our philosophy was the exact opposite: make it as easy as possible to get tickets into the hands of consumers, and in doing so, broaden the scope, availability, and access to theater events."
Of course, competition already exists in the mobile ticketing space from big players like Ticket Master and StubHub, but mobile tickets still don't exist within the theater industry itself due to union restrictions. So regardless of how you purchase a theater ticket, you'll need to pick up or print out that ticket beforehand, which is the key area TodayTix wants to differentiate itself by creating a VIP-like experience where your tickets are already waiting for you at the theater in the hand of a smiling concierge.
With TodayTix, that means offering a service that's lucrative to both theater fans and Broadway producers, with the goal of disproving the idea that a night at the theater is always an unaffordable luxury.
"Most people think, and we’ve done focus groups, most people assume that Broadway tickets are $100 to $150," Baer said. "But the fact is if you look on the app, a vast majority of shows have tickets in the 30, 35, 40 dollar region."
When you open up TodayTix, you're greeted with a screen full of theater artwork and showtimes. The app offers tickets for all Broadway shows, and a selection of the most popular off-Broadway shows. Tickets are only available seven days in advance, and there's also a Mobile Lottery feature that lets people enter a random drawing to purchase tickets for extremely popular shows.
"Our app is 30 seconds or less to buy a ticket, and it's something we really stuck to," Brian Fenty told Business Insider.
Once you order your tickets, you don't have to do anything but show up at the theater a few minutes before the show starts. When you get there, just look for the concierge wearing a red TodayTix shirt, and you'll be handed your tickets. And since the TodayTix concierge team is made up of aspiring actors, you'll also have someone to answer any questions you have if it's your first time.
"We're trying to make the delivery a high end experience as well," Fenty said. "We like to say it’s a high-touch end to a high-tech process."
Fenty and Baer understand the business side of Broadway from the larger context of having grown up acting.
"Merritt and I met 18 years ago at theater camp," Fenty told Business Insider.
"We met at Frenchwood’s Festival for the Performing Arts —singing and dancing 12 year olds, very embarrassing, no videos exist—" Baer quickly interjected, laughing.
"Actually videos do exist, and I have one on DVD," Fenty said. "But what’s interesting is that camp has yielded some of the industry’s biggest producers, biggest stars, biggest songwriters, so it’s really this amazing melting pot."
The two drifted apart after camp and eventually went to college, with Fenty attending The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Baer attending Stanford University. Both Fenty and Baer entered into the world of finance, but their love of theater eventually prompted them to begin looking at Broadway from an investment standpoint, even after they each began their respective careers in private equity and investment banking.
In 2010, Baer produced The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino, and then went on to produce Death of a Salesman in 2012, for which he won a Tony Award. Fenty was also producing Broadway shows at 23, and the two eventually re-connected while Baer was working in London.
"It was around that same time period that Brian and I reconnected and said ‘Hey how do we take my background in ticketing and both our backgrounds in producing and Brian’s entrepreneurship, how do we apply that to the theater industry?" Baer said. "And all this with a background of the theater industry in 2013 where in, according to The Broadway League, .08% of Broadway tickets were sold over mobile."
The two set out to change this, and they have.
"We launched in December 2013, and we currently are selling roughly 3 percent of all the tickets on Broadway," Fenty said.
With their knowledge of the industry, the two have also forged a partnership with The Public Theater in New York, an off-Broadway theater that now exclusively offers the first public showing of their plays through TodayTix, which offers a free lottery for the first preview shows.
It's been a successful partnership. When free tickets for the first preview of Julie Taymor's one-woman show "Grounded" starring Anne Hathaway were offered on the app, over 15,000 people entered for the chance to win tickets.
A year and a half after launching, TodayTix has raised $6.7 million in two rounds of funding, and on Monday they announced they were expanding their market to London — a market where TodayTix can introduce e-tickets for the first time since there's no restrictions like in the US.
And the business is clearly growing — In the first third of this year alone, Baer says the company's downloads have increased by 53% over the entire history of the company. Repeat customers are responsible for 55% of TodayTix's transactions, too.
But it doesn't come easily. Fenty says it takes time to build the necessary relationships, and having 20 years of experience in the theater industry helps them succeed where others have failed.
"We spent most of our lives in this world, so we really know the inner workings, and there are other companies that have dipped their toes into the Broadway waters, and have been quickly discouraged and left the market," he said. "It’s also about having a customer base that’s growing and trusts you. Knowing it’s best price, and knowing you’re a company that’s saving customers millions of dollars, that helps."
"Fifty Shades of Grey" fans are in for a big surprise.
Another new book in the erotica series from author E.L. James is out later this month, titled "Grey."
James made the announcement on her social media accounts.
The fourth book in the series, following billionaire Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, won't be a sequel. Instead, it will be a retelling of the first book from Grey's point of view.
The first three books were all told from the perspective of recent college grad Anastasia Steele as she first encountered Grey.
The book will be released June 18, 2015, which just so happens to mark Christian Grey's birthday.
According to Variety, James is dedicating the book “to those readers who asked… and asked… and asked… and asked for this.”
"Fifty Shades of Grey" started out as fan fiction based on the popular "Twilight" series from Stephanie Meyer.
Funny enough, Meyer was going to do a similar thing with her book series.
After the successful run of the "Twilight" series, Meyer planned to release a book called "Midnight Sun," which would have been "Twilight" from perspective of the male lead, Edward Cullen. However, after multiple chapters from the book were leaked online, Meyer stopped work on the book in 2008. Instead, Meyer made rough drafts of the chapters available for free to her fans online.
There couldn't be a more perfect time to release a "Fifty Shades of Grey" companion book.
The film adaptation became an instant hit. Not only did the film have the best opening weekend ever in February, it also had the largest opening for an erotic thriller and romantic movie. All together, the film has grossed over $569 million worldwide on a reported $40 million budget.
A sequel for the film is planned for a 2017 release. James' husband, Niall Leonard, will write the script for that film.
We all know baby boomers have officially infiltrated Facebook. But when it comes to Snapchat, users skew much younger.
That's why it's so surprising that 67-year-old actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger is such a pro when it comes to using the social platform.
The former California governor's username on Snapchat is arnoldschnitzel. Most of the time, he uses his account to promote his upcoming movies, like "Maggie," now that his acting career is heating up again after a hiatus.
From May 27 to May 29, though, he attended the Arnold Classic in Rio de Janeiro, an athletic conference named after Schwarzenegger himself, and posted a ton.
He updated followers constantly each day, regaling them with snaps that showed bodybuilders, keg-throwers, pole dancers and more.
On Friday, May 29, Schwarzenegger uploaded a video to Snapchat of himself sitting on a bike in Rio and talking about the competition.
Soon after, Schwarzenegger handed off his phone to someone else so he could referee this capoeira match.
Arnie was impressed with a man who tossed half a dozen kegs over his shoulders.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Bruce Jenner, now known as "Caitlyn," comes out as a woman on the upcoming cover of Vanity Fair.
Annie Leibovitz shot the first pictures of Caitlyn, which were taken in her Malibu home.
Pulitzer Prize–winning contributing editor and author of 'Friday Night Lights' Buzz Bissinger interviewed Jenner for the cover story, in which Jenner reveals the path to becoming Caitlyn.
"If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, 'You just blew your entire life,'" Jenner says of why she finally decided to make her transition public.
Check out the cover below:
In a behind-the-scenes video from the Vanity Fair cover shoot, Jenner says, "Bruce always had to tell a lie, he was always living a lie, every day he had a secret from morning until night. Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I'm free."
Watch the full video below:
Caitlyn Jenner also just received a verified Twitter account, amassing over 150,000 followers within the first 40 minutes.
She tweeted for the first time moments after the cover was released:
I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me.— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
be free now pretty bird.— Kendall Jenner (@KendallJenner) June 1, 2015
SEE ALSO: BRUCE JENNER INTERVIEW: 'I am a woman'
One of the most memorable and frightening dinosaurs introduced in the "Jurassic Park" series is the Velociraptor. They may not be as gigantic as the T. rex, but the intimidating raptors have appeared in each of the three films so far.
We'll see them again on screen in "Jurassic World," which hits theaters June 12.
However, you may not realize the ferocious beasts we've become acquainted with onscreen are much different than what popular culture might lead you to believe.
While they are portrayed as vicious, cunning reptile-like hunters in the movies, in reality, they were much smaller, less intelligent, and resembled a bird more than a reptile.
"It's the size of a big turkey or a small wolf," Dr. John Hutchinson, an evolutionary biomechanist and professor at the Royal Veterinary College in London, explained to Business Insider. "The evidence of their brain is that it's no smarter than a pretty dumb bird like an Emu or something like that."
The real Velociraptor was also feathered, a discovery which wasn't made until after "Jurassic Park" was released in 1993.
"We know that for sure because we found specimens that have the insertion points for feathers on their arms." Dr. Mark Norell, current Chairman of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, told Business Insider.
Here's a sketch of what an actual Velociraptor may have looked like by artist Luis V. Rey. This depiction has even made it into a museum in America.
Michael Crichton, who wrote the book which "Jurassic Park" is based on, and director Steven Spielberg were both aware of the Velociraptor's less than intimidating size back when the movie was being developed in the early '90s.
The Velociraptor we see on screen ended up based off of another dinosaur, Deinonychus. This is partially because Crichton based his novel on Gregory Paul's "Predatory Dinosaurs," which "labeled the Velociraptor as a Deinonychus subspecies."
Spielberg could have changed it to the more accurate term, but most Paleontologists think he probably kept it that way because "Velociraptor" sounded a lot cooler than "Deinonychus."
"[Velociraptor] is a much sexier, better-sounding name." Norell said. "For somebody to be talking about that Deinonychus because even Deinoychus, amongst the professional community, people pronounce it different ways, you know? I mean, it just flows off the tongue a lot easier."
When asked the same question, Dr. Hutchinson also described the Velociraptor name as "sexier."
While the scientific name isn't that catchy, Deinoychus does translate to "Terrible Claw" -- and the Velociraptors in the "Jurassic Park" franchise have some pretty mean ones.
The film's Velociraptors were a bit bigger than Deinonychus.Funny enough, just two years before the debut of "Jurassic Park," a new dinosaur was discovered called the Utahraptor which is nearly identical to the Velociraptors seen onscreen.
"Jurassic World" will bring back basically the same Velociraptors as before. However, they still won't have any feathers, and it appears from the trailers that they won't change much in size, either. This makes them consistent with the original film, but not so much with modern science.
One thing that may be different, though, is that the Velociraptors here could be a lot friendlier then they have been in the past. One trailer shows Chris Pratt's character training the raptors as he talks about "a relationship based on respect."
But maybe it wasn't their behavior that needed changing.
While it is hard to determine exactly how they behaved, there is some evidence to show real Velociraptors were indeed vicious fighters.
"I wouldn't wanna tangle with one," Hutchinson said.
Caitlyn Jenner will make her first scheduled public appearance at the 2015 ESPYS on July 15, which will also air live on ABC. Jenner will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The announcement from ESPN arrived just hours after Vanity Fair unveiled the first images of Jenner as a woman on Monday.
“In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible,” said Jenner. “However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers.”
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is given annually to "individuals whose contributions transcend sports."
Here's how ESPN described its reasoning for giving the award to 65-year-old former Olympian, Jenner:
Jenner’s unyielding resolve and hard work enabled him to win a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and break world records. He then parlayed that success into a variety of roles across different areas including television, film, auto racing and business. Although Jenner first captured the attention of the nation for his athletic prowess and determination, the same strength of character shone through this past April when he sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer to come out as a transgender woman.
Last year, Michael Sam, the first publicly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, received the Arthur Ashe Award. GMA host Robin Roberts was the 2013 recipient.
Arthur Ashe was a No. 1-ranked tennis player who won three grand slam tournaments. He's believed to have contracted HIV via a blood transfusion during heart bypass surgery in the 80s. He later founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death in 1993.
It was easy to write off the first season of "Halt and Catch Fire." Almost too easy.
Part of it had nothing to do with the show itself—a drama about about a group of misfits who band together to reverse engineer IBM's personal computer and inadvertently end up revolutionizing the industry.
Unfortunately for the show, the network it was on very quickly overshadowed the content of the series itself.
When "Halt and Catch Fire" was about to debut last summer, it was almost painfully obvious how much AMC needed a hit.
"Breaking Bad" had just concluded the year before after having its final season split across two years, and "Mad Men" was on hiatus, having done the same thing. It felt like the network was stalling for time, looking for a critical hit to pair with the immense commercial success of "The Walking Dead."
In that climate, "Halt and Catch Fire" never really got a fair shake. Regardless of the actual intent behind the show, it was seen as AMC's attempt to build another "Mad Men," and the show's first few episodes seemed to confirm that: a period setting, a charismatic lead with a dark past, and a bit of sex thrown in for good measure.
Visually, it lacked anything nearly as identifiable or iconic as the retro-cool-yet-arty vibe of "Mad Men," or the wide-angle loneliness of "Breaking Bad." It didn't have a lead character as charismatic as John Hamm's Don Draper, or as thoughtfully drawn as Brian Cranston's Walter White.
In fact, Lee Pace seems almost hamstrung in the early episodes of "Halt and Catch Fire," shoehorned into a role that doesn't seem to give him much to do other than be Don Draper via Patrick Bateman, only with less murder. If you've seen Pace in "Pushing Daisies," you'll find yourself wishing the show gave him more to do.
Here's the good news though: It does, and over the 10 episodes of season one, the entire show starts to really gel and assert its own identity. And it becomes something quite good.
The problem with those early episodes—and the thing that might lead you to impulsively pass on the show—is that they do a pretty bad job of signaling what the show is actually about, or suggesting what its most compelling aspects might be. And Lee Pace's Joe MacMillan, isn't necessarily at the center of it all.
Instead, what makes "Halt and Catch Fire" truly fascinating is the way it chronicles the birth of consumer tech culture, and the huge role women had in the early tech scene—something that's almost entirely been written out of recent history in favor of celebrating men like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg.
That the show improves so quickly over the course of such a brief season—it really figures itself out about six episodes into its 10-episode first season—is a pretty good sign of how quickly the show's creators cotton to what works and what doesn't.
Its second season, which premiered May 31 (and can be watched on AMC's website for free) is a bit of a soft reboot, with a renewed focus on two of the best characters on the show: Mackenzie Davis' Cameron Howard and Kerry Bishé's Donna Clark in new roles as leader's of Cameron's new startup, Mutiny.
With all that said, the show isn't without flaws—it is yet another show about people being terrible to others in order to get what they want, and its narrow focus can make it seem extremely homogeneous—it's not going to win any diversity awards anytime soon (although D.B. Woodside of "24" fame makes a memorable appearance in the seventh episode). But it's early enough in the show's run—and improving quickly enough—to make the 11-episode catch-up binge worth considering.
It's title is still terrible, though.
Check out the trailer for season 2 below.
It's been over 10 years since the genre-defining game "World of Warcraft" launched. Despite the passing of time, there are still over 7 million people actively playing the game.
Of course, in that time period, games have gotten significantly more attractive.
Here's what "World of Warcraft" looks like right now in its most current expansion, with the same art style and graphical fidelity it had when it started back in 2004:
Pretty rough, no? Ignoring the messy user-interface (all that text and the dozens of boxes on the bottom of the screen), the game's graphics don't compare particularly well with modern games.
Though the comparison is dramatically unfair, here's an image of just-released game "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt":
But we're not here to pick on an aging powerhouse; with over 7 million players, it's not really possible to dramatically upgrade the looks of "World of Warcraft" without potentially isolating millions of players. Rather, we're here to marvel at the work of a man named Daniel Luchau. He took one piece of the massive world in "World of Warcraft" and re-created it beautifully in a modern game engine.
The results are stunning. Just look at this:
That's from an area in "World of Warcraft" called "Ellwyn Forest." Here's what it looks like in the game:
Quite an improvement, no?
The game engine powering this, Unreal Engine 4, is responsible for the massive uptick in graphical fidelity. It's being used to power everything from small mobile games to massive blockbusters; it's even being used to develop virtual reality games, which require a far higher graphical standard than games played on a television.
Here's the full walkthrough of Luchau's improvements to "World of Warcraft," in video form:
There's a robot on Twitter attempting to correct people who are referring to Caitlyn Jenner as "he" or "him." A noble gesture, sure, but it turns out the bot can't distinguish between who's actually using the wrong pronouns and those trying to be helpful in the same way.
Prior to completing her transition from Bruce to Caitlyn, Jenner was still using male pronouns.
"Until that transition is done, we've learned that you do refer to him as 'him,'" Jenner's step-daughter Kim Kardashian had told the "Today" show.
But earlier today, Vanity Fair released a preview of its cover story featuring Caitlyn Jenner; her first interview since she transitioned fully from Bruce into a woman. She has begun referring to herself using female pronouns, and asking everyone else to follow her example. This means "she" and "her," rather than "him" and "his."
I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me.— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
However, @she_not_he cannot tell when other Twitter users are tweeting in an attempt to spread awareness.