News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Sally Rooney’s third novel will be published next week, which means that the grinding apparatus of publicity has long since shifted into gear. Previews, reviews, and interviews have begun running online; branded bucket hats have been promised to lucky winners; a Vogue profile has appeared. The latter includes a picture of Rooney standing some distance from the camera, hands clasped stiffly before her, in a pose that looks archaic or possibly arthritic. She wears a long skirt and a stoic expression. I would describe it as “a photo of someone deeply uncomfortable being photographed for Vogue.”

To be fair, it is also a photo that suggests the professional good manners required to show up, do what you’re told, and listen to the poor publicist who, after all, is just trying to get people to read your book. Once an artist is swept up in the exigencies of fame, it becomes hard for them to object without sounding like a diva, or to complain without sounding like an ingrate. Fame and success are understood as so closely linked that any refusal tends to be regarded as eccentric in the extreme (e.g., Elena Ferrante). As with Ferrante, the question of the writer’s public role now hangs over Rooney’s work — and, in her new book, it is a question she addresses directly, in several extended reflections on the culture of celebrity. Reviewing Beautiful World, Where Are You for the New York Times, John Williams called these passages “among its least inspired.” While fame may be a “mixed blessing,” Williams wrote, “everything that rock stars (literary and otherwise) seem to have discovered about that fact is simple and repetitive.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was the middle of June when more than two dozen songwriters, producers, and publishing representatives poured into an expansive, secluded creator’s “compound” just outside of Los Angeles’ wealthy Brentwood neighborhood. For three days, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., they wrote songs — in between catered meals and fierce games of corn hole in the estate’s backyard — to shop around to A-listers like Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, and Cardi B, who could turn the tunes into lucrative anthems. It was, essentially, a summer camp for hitmaking. There was just one twist: The writers were specifically encouraged to lift music from old hit songs.

“We wanted everyone to have fun, be as creative as you want, make whatever you’d like, but use our catalog as a starting point,” says Franny Graham, one of the camp’s organizers and the vice president of creative at indie publisher Primary Wave.

Songwriting camps aren’t uncommon, but this was Graham’s first time setting up a camp directly asking for songs to be written with interpolations. Leading up to the camp, Primary Wave, which has been on a buying spree collecting publishing rights from the likes of Stevie Nicks and Bob Marley, sent all the songwriters a playlist of a few dozen old hits they owned a stake in — offering these easily clearable copyrights as a way to kickstart the writing process. Publishers have a vested interest in getting tracks interpolated: They get revenue on the new songs if their signed songwriters have credits on the tracks, and interpolations and samples often drive streams to the original material to boot. Primary Wave hosts writers across several genres, including its own in-house talent alongside songwriters from Electric Feel, which, along with running a label and publishing division, manages artists including Post Malone, Iann Dior, and 24kGoldn.

Read the rest of this article at: The RollingStone

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Jaiden Stipp was watching a Star Wars movie at his afternoon youth group in Tacoma, Washington, last March when the bids started coming in. First it was a fragment of an Ethereum coin, worth about $300 at the time. Then it was more. Eventually Stipp—who is 15 years old and will soon be starting his sophomore year of high school—sold his artwork, a digital illustration of a waving, astronaut-like cartoon figure, for 20ETH. (That converted to over $30,000; it was traded a month later for nearly $60,000.) “My dad was like, ‘No way this is actual money,’” Stipp says. “It seems like it’s a lot of fake money being passed around. So we took some of the money out just to see what’s actually real. And then at the bank. I was like, ‘Whoa.’”

Stipp had been making and selling logo designs for customers found on the social app Discord for $20 to $70. On a whim, he made his astronaut cartoon into an NFT (non-fungible token), put it up for auction, and became a blue-chip artist overnight. He’s since sold four more pieces, and cashed out enough to help his parents pay off their house and cars. The rest, he invests in the early works of other young artists who are bypassing the traditional art market to find a stable of eager buyers in the world of cryptoart on the blockchain.

Read the rest of this article at: Time

News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Why, in the wake of Michael K. Williams’s death, do I find myself dwelling on his performance in Julien Temple’s forgotten flick “Bullet”? It should have been a nothing role. Tupac Shakur fills the screen as Tank, the glamorous drug dealer who settles scores from the comforts of a limousine. In one scene, Tank grills two white boys about the emergence of a neighborhood threat. Williams plays High Top, Tank’s brother and unthinking sentinel, and he’s hardly allowed into the frame—until he is. Williams doesn’t barge in. He lives silently in the shadow of the composition, exuding a menace that is understated until it becomes a tangible presence, and when he gives economical voice to that menace—“Get outta here,” he snarls, as he shoves the goons out of the vehicle—the power dynamic of the American gangster genre is flipped, and it is the white man who finds his neck yoked.

This was in 1996, when Williams was twenty-nine, years before Omar Little was in him. At the time, he was a complete unknown—unless you were a club kid or a house head, in which case you might have recognized him as Mike, the beautiful Brooklyn baby with the hooked smile and wrinkled brow, who was something of a fixture on the ballroom scene. Before he was an actor, Williams was a dancer, first brought to his feet, he once said, by Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” video. He left school to pursue dance and spent a year intermittently homeless, sleeping on trains and in clubs, as he tried to land gigs. “I would literally just pound that pavement up and down Broadway, running up in record companies, finding out who the new artist—you need new dancers, man?” he told NPR. He joined tours for Madonna and George Michael as a background dancer, in addition to doing choreography work for certified divas. Was it Williams’s early exposure to drag and other expressions of freedom that helped him connect with his characters—commune with them, almost spiritually? When, in “Lovecraft Country,” his Montrose Freeman, anguished by his sexuality, closes his eyes, submits to the music, and allows the queens to lift him off the dance floor—what was that scene but a kind of conversion? There was a relinquishment of self, in his too-small œuvre, a theory of acting as being. There was the thinker, in Williams, and the romantic. His death this past Monday, at the age of fifty-four, of a possible overdose, has cut tragically short one of the most interesting careers in television history.

We cannot avoid the topic of physiognomy. When Williams was twenty-five, he was slashed in a bar fight, leaving his face bisected from the hairline to the cheek. His scar should have granted him the enviable hauteur of a Roman bust, but, in the unimaginative world of entertainment, the combination of the mark and his dark skin was treated like built-in makeup. Music-video directors no longer wanted him simply to dance: he was mostly offered spots in which he was asked to “roll these dice” or “have this fight,” he recalled. “Bullet” was his first film part, which he landed after Tupac saw a Polaroid of him and demanded that he be cast. In 2002 came Omar Little, his breakthrough role in “The Wire.” The description of the character would have sounded preposterous at the turn of the last century: a loner stickup artist who hunts down drug dealers and outwits the police, casing the alleys of Baltimore with a sawed-off handgun, sheltering his pink-lipped boyfriend in the house of his big trenchcoat. He is introduced as a legend, literally whistling “The Farmer in the Dell” as he stomps down the street; “Omar comin’,” the dope boys warn as they scatter. Williams was told that his character was not meant to last for more than a season. But he steadied the equilibrium of the crime opera—he sexualized it, too—so he stayed for another four.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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News 10.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

No one notices the masked man sitting on a bench at the back of the Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Café’s covered seating area. Nobody catches—floating in the warm ocean breeze above the drone of the cars on the Pacific Coast Highway and the smush of the crashing waves beyond—any of the telltale snippets that might prod them to look twice:

“…I mean, Bono lived down the street…”

“…There was the moment when I passed into the realm of being somebody who was an elder statesman versus the new guy. You know, I never was clear when that happened. It was just kind of like I woke up one day and that was the case…”

“…Those last few days of shooting, we knew that we were going to get shut down…”

“…You just get way too much credit for things that you normally wouldn’t get credit for. ‘Oh, you’re so nice.’ ‘No, I’m not really—I’m not so nice.’…”

Instead, Matt Damon manages to turn up here, talk about pretty much anything and everything for two hours, and leave undisturbed. The mask clearly helps. He is wearing it for our encounter because his 12-year-old daughter, Gia, has COVID. Though she has been isolated in her bedroom and has had nothing but a low fever, and although everyone in the household is having PCR tests every 18 hours, all so far negative (Gia’s aside), caution dictates that our masks stay on and we sit diagonally across a table. It only adds to the all-round strangeness. Before meeting him, I expected that Damon might be one of those polished celebrities who bombard you so affably and articulately with chosen tales from their life that you might not notice until it’s too late all of the things that they’ve carefully decided not to share. But the man I encounter will be nowhere near so controlled or straightforward.

Damon and his family spent the first part of the year in the relative sanctuary of Australia, for reasons we will come to, but about three weeks ago they returned to the Northern Hemisphere. “It’s been a whirlwind,” he begins to tell me, though neither of us is quite yet aware just how roughly some of those winds may have buffeted him. “The relative calm of a COVID-free continent,” he continues, “to L.A. and then France…”—for the Cannes Film Festival—“…and then back here. And, you know, dealing with this.” Family illness, worry, quarantine. “It’s just been a lot, like from zero to hundred again. I was excited to kind of reengage with the world, but I forgot how fast it moves.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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