Lily Allen is planning to write a letter of apology to fellow pop star Rita Ora and model Cara Delevingne after criticising them both in a new song. The R.I.P. hitmaker and the catwalk beauty are among a number of stars name-checked by Allen in a track called Insincerely Yours, which criticises the U.K.'s celebrity party scene.
Allen fears the stars she has mentioned in her music may be offended, so she is planing to explain herself in a note. She tells Popjustice.com, "A few people have said to me, 'You're going to p**s off so many people by name-checking this person and that person' and I think, 'Well, yes', but I've always made a thing of social commentary and commentary on pop culture, and I don't think you can do that unless you name-check the people at the forefront of that culture. "Actually I still need to write letters to Rita Ora and Cara Delevingne. In actual fact the song where I appear to slag off Rita and (model) Jordan... It's not about them, it's about the idea of them - how the media perceive them. It's about how the way (sic) the media perceive them as entities and how that actually has nothing to do with how they are in real life. And Delevingne rhymes with magazine."
Mad Men might be at its best when it drives bleak, but there's something to be said for the cheeky side of the series too — the side willing, just a week after showcasing the visceral breakdown of its two main characters, to treat them both to the traditions of Three's Company. The second episode of Season 7 forces Don and Peggy deeper into the marshlands of misery, with one succumbing to the weight of the swamp after a decade of casual treading, the other flailing in panic and grabbing for any semblance of a stable root... like that of a rose, for example.
The first Jack-and-Crissyan wacky misunderstanding of that Mad Men borrows from sitcom lore this week is Peggy's identification of an unmarked bouquet of roses to be a gift to her from Ted. Although she responds with a delivery of hot bile to her undoubtedly confused colleague, Peggy is grasping desperately for the possibility that on this Valentine's Day in 1969 she has been considered. Unlucky Shirley, Peggy's secretary, is the secondary victim of this mixup, as the flowers were hers, sent from a loving fiancé — the primary victim, of course, is Peggy.
As confidently as Mad Men seems to be handling Peggy's ascension toward a Draper-level isolation, her sudden bout of insolence (notably when she explodes at Shirley for revealing the true origin of the roses) comes off a few leagues less interesting than the fashion in which we've seen the series handle emotional self-sabotage before. Granted we're expected to follow Peggy to, toward, or (hopefully) around a platform in just one season that took the show six to reach for Don... and, admittedly, maybe it's just the additional unpleasantness that comes with watching a favorite character like Ms. Olson decay. But we can hope that Peggy's turn this week is just a glimmer of a rock bottom that we can watch her work to avoid in the episodes to come. And if she must hit, then at least let the trigger not be a bouquet of roses.
Wacky mixup number 2 is of the "overheard phone call" variety, with Roger dismissing L.A.-based Pete over a wonky cross-country conference call as the troops led by Harry Hamlin (I'm not sure I'll ever be able to learn his character's name) determine that Campbell's latest account would be best laid in the hands of Bob Benson. Pete is up in arms, and the Roger/Hamlin dichotomy is fissuring violently as the latter takes the advantage of a Donless, Peteless office to seize control and rally all available parties (for instance, the long unappreciated Joan, who gets bumped up a league this week) to climb aboard his silver-tongued ship.
And the final trope ripped straight from the Regal Beagle: the Draper family's pyramid of secrecy. Sally, on a trip into the city to A) attend the funeral of her prep school roommate's mother, and B) ditch said sob-fest with her far out pals to go shopping in Manhattan, stops into her dad's office to get money for bus fare after misplacing her purse. Naturally, the sights of lovable ol' Lou Avery sitting pretty at the Draper desk rattles Sally, who (along with everyone else in his personal life) has no idea that Don has been saddled with a leave of absence from the company. Sally meets up with her father at his apartment, keeping it a secret that she knows of his unemployment status, while he keeps that very unemployment status a secret... until, after receiving a phone call from Dawn, he learns that she stopped by SC&P earlier in the day. Naturally, he keeps this new information a secret... until Sally gets a call from Joan alerting her to the call from Dawn but keeps it a secret from Don who gets a call from Roger telling him about the call from Joan which he too keeps a secret not knowing that Sally knows that he knows that she knows that he knows until it all erupts in a scene where Phoebe kisses Chandler. Sorry, now I'm mixing up my sitcom references. In truth, the mountain of secrets stops at Dawn's phone call.
Quick diversion — Shirley and Dawn are tossed into chaos this week when their bosses (a lunatic Peggy and an asshat Lou Avery) take issue with the ladies' inability to predict Peggy/Lou's own incompetence. As such, they are jostled around the office in a subplot that plays both like a screwball comedy of errors that warrants Benny Hill music, but also like an tearfully unfuriating window into the "everyday racism," as well as class and gender bigotry, of 1969... and on. Only Mad Men can do a tertiary story this good and dense.
After the unprecedently humane ending to Season 6, which saw Don connecting with Sally in a new way over the revelation of his life story (at least pieces of it), it's a little disconcerting to see father and daughter having reverted back to the status quo, instilling the fear that, even after all of the strides taken in this episode, the same might amount at the head of the next week that we see Don and Sally together. But this concern aside, Don and Sally's road trip back up to prep school is some of the show's most favorable material in years. Don can soften at the behest of his daughter in a way that he can't for anyone else — even his sullen admission of pride for Bobby in last season's "The Flood" arrived solely thanks to a few too many drinks and the assassination of Martin Luther King. Having craved a genuine all throughout his younger years, adhered his securities to his beloved Anna Draper (whose memory was evoked this week by a scene of Pete and his real estate agent ladyfriend canoodling in an unfurnished, mid-paint job L.A. house) as some kind of a maternal figure, and "cared over" every woman he has since dated more than actually caring for them, Don has only known how to love from a safe, manufactured distance. But his bond with Sally, which we see more vividly than ever in this episode, is something he can no longer divide from.
Truths surface, from all directions, as Don drives Sally back up to school. She learns that her dad has been given the boot, he learns that she skipped out after the funeral to go shopping with her callous friends, we learn that Sally already knows the colorful tale of Richard Whitman, she learns (thanks to Don) that she might not be as cold and cut-off as she might have thought — those Drapers, always priding themselves on unclaimed emotional distance! — and he learns, in the final seconds of the episode, that Sally loves him.
With all the work done between Don and Sally in the past few seasons, this episode marking a masterful climax to the arc, I'd be satisfied if Don's final chapter is based entirely in his relationship with his daughter. Hell, her evolution past the point of his grasp and into something that is far more frightening but potentially far more rewarding mirrors the Don/Peggy rapport, although promises (now) to branch off in a more positive direction, so we wouldn't even have to sacrifice the series' favorite relationship were we to devote the majority of Season 7 to the Drapers. Whatever we see of the pair from hereon out, "A Day's Work" does very well to access the brimming pains in each party through its unique counterpart. Nobody can possibly understand how Sally Draper feels all the time but her likewise rotting dad. And — as he now learns over a patty melt and a plate of cold fries, cracking dine-and-ditch jokes , out of the job to which he pinned himself at the expense of a series of bad marriages and meaningless affairs... all, in their own right, distractions from the family he never really learned how to love — he has this same unmatched opportunity in his daughter. Funny. But not Three's Company funny.
Episode grade: A-, with bonus points for Dawn and Shirley's lyrical lambasting of their blockhead superiors.
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Former Suede star Bernard Butler is convinced his former collaborator Duffy went "off the rails" because she struggled to deal with sudden fame. The Welsh singer scored a huge hit with her debut album Rockferry, which she worked on with Butler, scoring a Grammy Award and three BRIT Awards, but failed to replicate its success with her 2010 follow-up Endlessly.
She has since been largely absent from the music scene and Butler admits he feels sorry for his former protegee.
He tells Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, "She went off the rails and it all went pear-shaped for her. And maybe she brought all those problems on herself. But I always had quite a lot of sympathy for her, because she was young, from this tiny village in Wales, and she was just hurled into the fire. And everyone said, 'Don't act strange.' Why? Of course she was going to go off the rails."
Butler goes on to compare Duffy's troubles to the problems he suffered as a member of rock group Suede, adding, "When I was in Suede, I did the same to a certain extent; that was one of the times when I was closest to being a bit nutty, because it was a bit of a baptism of fire."
One of Ireland's biggest music festivals has been scrapped after organisers failed to secure top headlining acts. Oxegen was due to be held at the Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare over the summer (14), but financial issues and a lack of available performers has forced bosses at MCD Productions to cancel the event this year.
A statement on the festival's official website reads: "It is with regret that MCD announce that Oxegen will not take place this year due to lack of suitable headline acts which combined with the financial demands by local agencies make it no longer viable to stage the festival in its current form."
Oxegen has been a mainstay in Ireland's music scene since 2004, with big-name artists such as Coldplay, REM and Beyonce serving as headliners in the past, entertaining up to 80,000 fans.
The festival was cancelled in 2012, but returned last year (13) with David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Snoop Dogg serving as headliners.
Rockers Arctic Monkeys fear they have "sold out" by breaking the vow they made against courting publicity when they started out. The British musicians were famously publicity-shy when they first hit the music scene and turned down numerous interviews and promotional opportunities around the release of debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not in 2006.
Since the release of their fifth album, AM, last year (13), the group has been making more public appearances, including a performance on U.S. talk show Late Show With David Letterman in January (14) and at the BRIT Awards in February (14).
The rockers' track Do I Wanna Know? reached number one on the U.S. Alternative Songs chart in January (14), and they now admit their previous attitude may have stunted their success.
Frontman Alex Turner tells British Esquire magazine, "We said no in the beginning because we didn't want to do it. I never liked the idea of being everywhere... our nonchalance was our USP (unique selling point), yes. I don't even know where that attitude came from. It was our world and we didn't want to let people into it in the beginning."
Bassist Nick O'Malley points out that they previously vowed never to perform at the BRIT Awards "ever" and they have also gone back on their promise to never make radio promo clips, with guitarist Jamie Cook adding, "We've sold out."
O'Malley says, "We never really wanted to do any of that stuff, but now we're like, number one. We never really realised the benefit before."
Orange Is The New Black star Jackie Cruz has signed a record deal with music publishing powerhouse BMI. The Dominican American actress, who plays Flaca on the hit Netflix prison comedy, has signed with the same company which represents Rihanna and Pink.
She tells OKMagazine.com, "I'm excited to have my music overseen by BMI. They're an amazing music family to be part of, as they've been the parents to many legends that I look up to."
Cruz, who is planning to record in both English and Spanish, is no stranger to the music scene. She began her career as part of a girl group managed by will.i.am. As a solo artist, she found success with her 2010 track Your Love.
Top music producer Frankie Knuckles has passed away at the age of 59. The club music icon, dubbed the 'Godfather of House', died at his home on Monday (31Mar14), according to his business partner Frederick Dunson. His cause of death has not been confirmed but reports suggest he suffered from diabetes.
Knuckles started his music career as a DJ in New York City in the 1970s, before relocating to Chicago, Illinois.
His style of mixing disco and soul helped kick off the house club scene in 1980s Chicago. He went on to become the go-to remixer of the 1980s and 1990s, working on tracks by Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, the Pet Shop Boys, and Lisa Stansfield.
Knuckles also released several albums of his own tracks. In 2004, a stretch of road in Chicago was named Frankie Knuckles Way in honour of the warehouse club he previously ran in the area. He was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Following the news of his death, a number of stars from across all music genres reached out to pay their respects.
Top British DJ Pete Tong tweeted, "R.I.P Godfather Of House Frankie Knuckles R.I.P gentleman genius groundbreaker inspiration blessed to have worked with you. Sad news."
Fellow disc jockey Rob da Bank added: "So sad to hear that Frankie Knuckles has died... amazing DJ and pioneer", while House superstar David Morales wrote on Twitter, "I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away... Can't write anymore than this at the moment."
Musician Questlove also expressed his shock, tweeting: "Jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. He was the DJ that DJ's (sic) aspired to be. True dance pioneer."
A post on hip-hop act Wu Tang Clan's Twitter feed reads: "R.I.P Frankie Knuckles... Peace. All praises due..."
Another prolific House DJ, Roger Sanchez, also paid his respects: "Yes unfortunately it is true - Frankie Knuckles has passed on today. I can't begin to count the ways he influenced me but I will never forget."
A fourth victim of the recent South by Southwest festival car crash has died from his injuries. Police in Austin, Texas revealed 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum died on Thursday (27Mar14).
Steven Craenmehr, 35, and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West died at the scene of the tragedy, and Sandy Le died days later.
Rashad Owens, the driver of the car that ran into a group of music fans outside The Mohawk Club in Austin, has been formally charged with one count of capital murder.
Gay television is a complex premise. Gay men do not necessarily want to be singled out by their sexual identity. However, there is an interest in television shows that authentically speak to the gay experience and some semblance of the culture. Logo has opted to focus on lifestyle programming and go beyond labels which means mostly RuPaul’s Drag Race, old sitcoms, and edited-for-TV movies. Looking is problematic because its subdued tone and racist adjacent handling of minorities. Let’s not even talk about the Sean Saves the World debacle.
It seems like gay programming is moving to the Internet. There is less network red tape, people can make whatever shows they want, and the production values are higher than you’d expect. Here are just a few of the best the web has to offer to the discerning gay gentleman.
Gays: The Series
Looking is often compared to Girls due to their shared network home, but Gays: The Series might be more up the alley of Dunham fans seeking a program about homosexuality. The show succeeds in delivering a fresh take on gay single life, an attractive and diverse cast, and something that feels authentically New York. It does have a few shortcomings production wise, but for an independently produced series it succeeds in providing the gay community with their own HBO style comedy.
Johnny McGovern, a.k.a. The Gay Pimp, gives Tosh.0 the queer eye. He takes homoerotic videos from the Internet and provides color commentary with his comedy cronies Julie Goldman, Brandy Howard, and James Pombo aka Linda James. The show is funny and frivolous, never taking itself too seriously. There have been a ton of people that have tried to replicate the styles of The Soup and Tosh.0; this series may seem reminiscent but brings a unique voice, premise, and a little NSFW flair to the medium.
Anything from Drew Droege
Droege is a gay Internet celebrity who burst onto the scene with hilarious web impersonations of Chloë Sevigny (of all people). He’s also appeared in countless web videos. He headlines Hollywood Acting Studio where he plays an eccentric acting teacher at a community college. He’s also starring in Not Looking , a Funny or Die parody of the HBO series. It’s shocking that he has not been tapped to star on SNL given his outrageous characters and impressions.
Todrick Hall Productions
Believe it or not, there is a YouTube super producer at large. Todrick Hall is delivering YouTube videos with high production values and even celebrity cameos like Glee stars Alex Newell and Amber Riley. His videos incorporate race and LGBTQ issues seamlessly into parodies of popular films, Disney classics, and music videos. Whether it’s a gay male version of Mean Girls or Disney princesses dancing in a Beyonce video, he has his finger on the pulse of what people are interested in. Could he become the Internet’s answer to Oprah?
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Jonah Hill is the most unlikely movie star. He isn't particularly "handsome" like those who came before him, such as Rudolph Valentino, Cary Grant, or even George Clooney. Hollywood producers don't develop movies for him, and he is rarely given the leading role. In another time, Hill might have been a consistently reliable character actor like Harry Dean Stanton whose presence elevates certain films but whose name is largely unrecognized by the general moviegoing audience. Today, however, Hill is a household name, and his appearance in more films signifies a change in both industry and audience practices.
Unlike most character actors who express their versatility in diverse supporting roles, Hill presents a star persona that is specific to his skills as a performer. In his scene-stealing cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, for example, Hill creates humor out of an awkward encounter. Hill's deadpan delivery forces the audience to laugh at his character's cringeworthy interactions. The character is painful to watch, and the audience is embarrassed for him, but Hill's ability to own the absurdity of the situation turns the scene into comedy gold.
The same can be said about Hill's supporting turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Hill plays a different character in the film and is given more screen time, but he similarly finds humor in awkwardness. He approaches the scene as a serious actor would, but the combination of his intention (to promote his music) and the situation (intruding upon an intimate conversation between two characters) creates an embarrassing moment that is so absurd the audience can't help but laugh.
Hill would push this persona to the extreme in Cyrus, a hilarious comedy in which he plays a young man who still lives with his mother Molly (Marisa Tomei). John C. Reilly's character begins dating Molly and must deal with Hill's abnormalities. In the scene below, Hill threatens Reilly to back off, and as usual, he turns an awkward situation into comedy. Hill plays the scene intensely as if it were a drama, but the absurd premise of the film and Hill's association with it triggers the audience to laugh.
Hill would continue to develop and expand this persona in other films, including his Oscar nominated turns in both Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. In the former, Hill is as subdued as he's ever been, but there's always an element of humor in even the simplest line readings. By contrast, his work in the latter is over-the-top, and although he shows a side of himself moviegoers have never seen, he still manages to sneak in his awkward screen persona. Consider, for instance, the scene below in which Hill explains to Leonardo DiCaprio's character his abnormal relationship with his cousin. The combination of Hill's physical appearance (those teeth!) and his earnest delivery once again force the audience to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
This is not to say that Hill lacks talent, because I personally think that he's one of cinema's most exciting performers. However, with each film appearance, Hill cultivates a unique star persona that is unlike anything we've seen before. He lacks the traditional handsomeness of other male movie stars and he isn't expected or required to play the leading role. Yet his signature is always stamped on each film he's in, and all of his performances adhere to his persona while simultaneously expanding it. Like some of Hill's more famous co-stars such as Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, Hill has become a beloved household name. Unlike them, Hill is carving a new path for movie stars of a different kind, and it will be exciting to see where he goes next.