But hundreds of thousands more have not yet been discovered, and whether any of those are on course to slam into our planet, no one knows. So finding and tracking all the asteroids that could cross Earth’s path would allow officials to issue warnings and potentially provide time to deflect dangerous ones.
The community of scientists contemplating such doomsday possibilities is small and usually cordial — at least until Nathan P. Myhrvold barged in. Once the chief technologist at Microsoft, Dr. Myhrvold moved on to other endeavors like a six-volume, 2,438-page compendium of cooking knowledge that has been celebrated by chefs. (A sequel, about baking, is in the works.)
He has also become a statistics scold of scientists.
WISE, launched in 2009, snapped images of three-quarters of a billion stars, galaxies and other celestial objects, including the heat emissions of asteroids.
An offshoot called Neowise used the heat data to calculate the size and reflectivity of 158,000 asteroids.
Dr. Myhrvold contends that the Neowise analysis is deeply flawed. “The bad news is it’s all basically wrong,” he said. “Unfortunately for a lot of it, it’s never going to be as accurate as they had hoped.”
Ruth B’s “Lost Boy” is easily the most unusual song on the Hot 100: when it cracked the top 50 earlier this month, it was the only unadorned piano ballad on the chart’s top half, no small feat. It’s also the only song on the chart inspired by a more than century-old play.
That play is Peter Pan, first staged in 1904 and currently enjoying something of a moment in pop music. Last summer, an album with the same theme was released to accompany the musical Finding Neverland, but despite contributions from Nick Jonas, Jennifer Lopez, and Zendaya, nothing cracked the Hot 100. But Ruth B’s out-of-nowhere success — she was an unknown without a record deal before “Lost Boy” — suggests that the problem was with the execution rather than the concept. And Peter Pan’s appeal transcends genres: while “Lost Boy” climbs the charts, country listeners are warming to Kelsea Ballerini’s “Peter Pan,” No. 28 and climbing on the Hot Country Songs chart.
That secret other world has spawned a thousand spinoffs, and the Peter Pan character in the TV show Once Upon A Time is the one who inspired Ruth B to write her hit. After watching an episode, she headed downstairs to her keyboard. “I was in a Peter Pan headspace,” she remembers. “I sang that first line out of nowhere.”
Ruth is a fan of the app Vine — especially after a spontaneous decision to post a loop of her singing the chorus to Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home,” which led to a large increase in followers. She’d never written a song before the first line of “Lost Boy,” though, so she was hesitant to promote it on the app. “I initially didn’t even want to post it because it was a little bit cheesy,” she says. “But it kept ringing through my head.”
She eventually posted it, and the reaction was immediate: people wanted more. She started to add lines in Vine-able increments. “I would finish studying, come down stairs, and add a line to the chorus,” she explains. “In a week, I had a chorus, so I decided I should turn this into a full song and take it to YouTube.”
The result, built six seconds at a time, is a beatless piano ballad. Chords hang in the air, never pressing on top of each other. Ruth occasionally climbs into falsetto, but the track doesn’t have much movement or drama. Although it’s about finding friends, Ruth sings alone, and this isolation is emphasized by an echo effect. Her Neverland is a place of complete liberty — “lost boys like me are free” — and the singer avoids taking sides in the frequently violent squabbles that divide the island’s characters in the original story: “Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy darling, even Captain Hook/ You are my perfect storybook.”
But a perfect story, even one with the long term resonance of Peter Pan, doesn’t guarantee a national hit. That’s where major label radio promotion comes in handy. The tale of “Lost Boy” seesaws between old and new media — while there’s a nostalgia inherent in the idea of not wanting to grow up, the most up-to-date technology played a crucial role in the track’s formation; though Vine helped “Lost Boy” bubble up, old-school radio power gave it a key boost.
The radio clout was corralled in part by Lee Leipsner, EVP and head of promotion at Columbia Records. He has been at Sony music for 22 years; before that, he spent five years at Mercury records. On the phone, he has the enthusiasm and fervor of a lifelong salesman, and an arsenal of statistics to support his points. “It never gets old breaking records,” he tells me.
They painted magnificent cave paintings. They mastered fire and used tools. And now we know they constructed complex buildings deep within subterranean caves, and they did it more than 175,000 years ago. No, we’re not talking about early humans. Neanderthals did all this.
A team of archaeologists led by Jacques Jaubert at the University of Bordeaux in France has just completed an archaeological examination of a mysterious find: the rubble of two ancient Neanderthal-made buildings meticulously crafted from stalagmites. The site is located 1,000 feet into a dark, twisting cave 30 miles outside what is now Toulouse in southwestern France. The discovery is the first of its kind and, the researchers say, radically alters the understanding of Neanderthal culture. Jaubert’s team outlines their exploration today in a paper in the journal Nature.
“Because Neanderthals were the only [human-related primate] group present in western Europe at that time, the discovery provides the first directly dated evidence for Neanderthals’ construction abilities. It also shows that Neanderthals explored underground,” writes Marie Soressi, archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands (not involved in Jaubert’s archaeological examination), in an essay accompanying the study.
The Ancient Giants of Nevada and The Mystery of Lovelock Cave
Reid was unable to begin digging himself but news spread and soon, Lovelock cave was attracting attention. Unfortunately, the attention was profit-driven as guano deposits were discovered inside. A company started by miners David Pugh and James Hart began excavating the precious resource in 1911 and had soon shipped more than 250 tons to a fertilizer company in San Francisco. Any artifacts that might have been discovered were probably neglected or lost.
After the surface layer of guano had been mined, strange objects started to surface. This led to an official excavation being performed in 1912 by the University of California and another one took place in 1924. Reports told about thousands of artifacts being recovered, some of them being truly unusual.
Aliens on the streets of Sydney! Eerie photos from the set of Prometheus sequel Alien: Covenant show humanoid lifeforms frozen in agony at the moment of their death
By JO SCRIMSHIRE Haunting: One heart-stopping image from the set of Alien: Covenant taken at an undisclosed quarry in Sydney, Australia shows around two dozen ashen human forms eerily frozen in moments of panic and horror as they desperately clamber up a set of steps
These are the incredible photos taken from the set of upcoming sci-fi blockbuster Alien: Covenant, which is being filmed at an undisclosed location in Sydney, Australia.
The pictures were snapped at a quarry in the New South Wales capital on Thursday and show dramatic scenes of scorched human bodies twisted in despair and some being attacked by extra-terrestrial beings, similar to those from the Alien film series.
Directed by Oscar-nominated Sir Ridley Scott, the long-awaited sequel to 2012’s Prometheus appeared to be coming along nicely Down Under as production staff were shown against the backdrop of a grand, otherworldly set piece featuring huge blocks of charred stone and mysterious hieroglyphs.
Reflecting a haunting dystopia or end-of-civilisation scenario, several huge monuments appear toppled and strewn across the dry landscape and a tremendously large stone structure of a man’s face is left cracked and half-decapitated.
Juxtaposed next to the modern film machinery – including a large red and white crane, barricade tape and several work vehicles – the unfamiliar set and perfectly still human forms look disturbing and out-of-place.
EACH summer, a team from the University of Oslo in Norway go hunting for monsters on the island of Spitsbergen. They carry guns in case they get menaced by the world’s largest living land carnivore, the polar bear. But it is not bears they are after. They are searching for much bigger quarry, the most formidable predators that ever lived.
Step back 150 million years and Spitsbergen was covered by a cool, shallow sea swarming with marine reptiles. The creatures died out and their fossils became part of an island stuffed full of bones. Nowhere else in the world are so many marine reptiles found in one place.
For a few short weeks the sun never sets and temperatures soar to just above freezing. Knowing that before long the ground will be frozen solid, the researchers dig like crazy. “It’s like a gold rush, there are so many fossils waiting to be found,” says team leader Jørn Hurum. “The site is densely packed with skeletons. As we speak there are probably more than 1000 skeletons weathering out.”
Marine reptiles were among the first vertebrate fossils known to science and were key to the development of the theory of evolution. In the late 18th century the massive jaws of a lizard-like beast were found in a mine in Maastricht in the Netherlands. Later named Mosasaurus, the creature helped convince scientists that animals could become extinct, a radical concept in its day. In the early 19th century, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs discovered by legendary fossil hunter Mary Anning around Lyme Bay in south-west England helped establish the science of palaeontology. Marine reptiles were among the best-understood extinct creatures of the first half of the 19th century and played a major role in the intellectual debate nurturing Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Yet they faded from view as their terrestrial relatives moved to centre stage. It took nearly a century for marine reptile research to emerge from the shadow cast by the dinosaurs. “Scientists thought they knew all there was to know,” says plesiosaur expert Leslie Noè of the Thinktank museum in Birmingham, UK. “The idea was that they weren’t worth studying. Nobody would say that now. Our understanding of marine reptiles is phenomenally greater now than it was even 10 years ago.”
Every day, it seems, some verifiably intelligent person tells us that we don’t know what consciousness is. The nature of consciousness, they say, is an awesome mystery. It’s the ultimate hard problem. The current Wikipedia entry is typical: Consciousness “is the most mysterious aspect of our lives”; philosophers “have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness.”
I find this odd because we know exactly what consciousness is — where by “consciousness” I mean what most people mean in this debate: experience of any kind whatever. It’s the most familiar thing there is, whether it’s experience of emotion, pain, understanding what someone is saying, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting or feeling. It is in fact the only thing in the universe whose ultimate intrinsic nature we can claim to know. It is utterly unmysterious.
The nature of physical stuff, by contrast, is deeply mysterious, and physics grows stranger by the hour. (Richard Feynman’s remark about quantum theory — “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics” — seems as true as ever.) Or rather, more carefully: The nature of physical stuff is mysterious except insofar as consciousness is itself a form of physical stuff. This point, which is at first extremely startling, was well put by Bertrand Russell in the 1950s in his essay “Mind and Matter”: “We know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events,” he wrote, “except when these are mental events that we directly experience.” In having conscious experience, he claims, we learn something about the intrinsic nature of physical stuff, for conscious experience is itself a form of physical stuff.
I’m a Jeopardy! champion. I won three games in September of 2013. This didn’t happen during “Power Players Week.” I’m not a power player to anyone but that one guy in Pittsburgh who bought my band’s album in 2004, and also the editor of this newspaper, who wanted me to review Jonathan Franzen’s appearance on Jeopardy! Power Players Week. So here goes.
On Jeopardy, Jonathan Franzen knew all the answers. Of course he did. He’s Jonathan Franzen! They gave him a category about Birds in the first round. He got those questions right, of course. That’s like giving me a category called “Jerkin’ It.” There was also a Shakespeare category. Mr. Franzen knew those answers, too, though he didn’t ring in to answer that the Tamer of the Shrew was named Petruchio, an answer that I, sitting on my couch in my underwear while smoking a joint, knew immediately. “I should have known that,” Franzen said, fake-demurely.
Curse you, Franzen!
Then came the moment when Alex Trebek, the evil lord of knowledge, talks to the players. He and Mr. Franzen spent 30 seconds dissing Twitter, a doomsday scenario, a meeting of the ubermenschen that shattered my soul forever. “Do you think in our society, Twitter is trivializing importance?” Alex Trebek asked Jonathan Franzen. Even typing that phrase—“Alex Trebek asked Jonathan Franzen”—hurts my heart. Believe it or not, Mr. Franzen did, and then talked about how it was impossible to form a counter-argument on Twitter.
CBS Summer Series AMERICAN GOTHIC Comes to Prime Video
Prime Video will be the official subscription streaming home, alongside CBS All Access, for the upcoming CBS murder-mystery drama AMERICAN GOTHIC. Amazon Prime members in the U.S. will be able to stream or download each episode just four days after each episode’s initial broadcast on CBS, at no additional cost to their Prime membership.
From creator Corinne Brinkerhoff (Jane the Virgin, The Good Wife), and hailing from CBS Television Studios and Amblin Partners, American Gothic is a 13-episode summer series, which will begin airing on CBS Wednesday, June 22 and centers on a prominent Boston family that is attempting to redefine itself in the wake of a chilling discovery that links their recently deceased patriarch to a string of murders spanning decades, amid the mounting SUSPICION that one of them may have been his accomplice. The series stars Juliet Rylance (The Knick, Sinister), Antony Starr (Banshee, OUTRAGEOUS Fortune), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman), Justin Chatwin (Shameless, Orphan Black), Megan Ketch (The Good Wife, Jane the Virgin), Elliot Knight (Once Upon a Time, How to Get Away with Murder), Stephanie Leonidas (Mirrormask, Defiance), and Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle, Checkmate).
Matter, energy… knowledge: How to harness physics’ demonic power
Running a brain-twisting thought experiment for real shows that information is a physical thing – so can we now harness the most elusive entity in the cosmos?
By Stephen Battersby
‘No Shadow’ by Makoto Tojiki
WE LIVE in the age of information. We are surrounded by it, and more of it year by year. It is the currency of human understanding, our indispensable guide to navigating a complex world. But what, actually, is information?
As we have wrestled with the question over the years, we have slowly begun to realise it is more than an abstraction, the intangible concept embodying anything that can be expressed in strings of 1s and 0s. Information is a real, physical thing that seems to play a part in everything from how machines work to how living creatures function.
Recently came the most startling demonstration yet: a tiny machine powered purely by information, which chilled metal through the power of its knowledge. This seemingly magical device could put us on the road to new, more efficient nanoscale machines, a better understanding of the workings of life, and a more complete picture of perhaps our most fundamental theory of the physical world.
A long feature in New York magazine hails the Russo brothers director team — Joe and Anthony, who grew up in Cleveland — as “the future of Hollywood.”
New York says they have just directed “what may well turn out to be this year’s highest-grossing movie (‘Captain America: Civil War,’ in theaters May 6), which is already garnering rapturous fanboy prerelease buzz — and they’re at work on two other blockbusters, sequels to the Avengers films, to be released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.”
By 2019, if all goes according to reported plan, “Marvel Studios will have released 23 separate films that fall within the (Marvel Cinematic Universe),” according to the story. Four of those — The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 and 2 — will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who are 45 and 46, respectively.
They’re now a long way from Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University, where they attended graduate school “way back in the go-go indie ’90s, the brothers decided they wanted to make films.”
From the story:
They self-financed a tiny crime caper called Pieces for $35,000, which got them discovered by Steven Soderbergh at the Slamdance Film Festival in 1997, which is about the most ’90s-filmmaker origin story imaginable. Soderbergh recognized an affinity in their movie — which Joe describes now as “a very self-aware, ironic, nonlinear, arty, you know, kind of up-its-own-ass film” — to his own Slamdance entry, the nonnarrative experimental film “Schizopolis.”
Soderbergh then produced their first studio comedy, (the Cleveland-filmed) “Welcome to Collinwood,” in 2002, and they followed that with “You, Me and Dupree,” an Owen Wilson vehicle, in 2006. They also became in-demand TV sitcom directors, thanks to an Emmy win in 2004 for directing “Arrested Development.” None of which would seem like a logical résumé entry for a pair of directors now entrusted with the future of the most successful franchise in Hollywood. And all of which says a lot about what it means — and what it doesn’t mean — to be a successful director in Hollywood right now.
How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching millions of children to master the digital world.
By CLIVE THOMPSON / Illustrations by CHRISTOPHER NIEMANN
Jordan wanted to build an unpredictable trap.
An 11-year-old in dark horn-rimmed glasses, Jordan is a devotee of Minecraft, the computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, from dizzying towers to entire cities. He recently read “The Maze Runner,” a sci-fi thriller in which teenagers live inside a booby-trapped labyrinth, and was inspired to concoct his own version — something he then would challenge his friends to navigate.
Jordan built a variety of obstacles, including a deluge of water and walls that collapsed inward, Indiana Jones-style. But what he really wanted was a trap that behaved unpredictably. That would really throw his friends off guard. How to do it, though? He obsessed over the problem.
Then it hit him: the animals! Minecraft contains a menagerie of virtual creatures, some of which players can kill and eat (or tame, if they want pets). One, a red-and-white cowlike critter called a mooshroom, is known for moseying about aimlessly. Jordan realized he could harness the animal’s movement to produce randomness. He built a pen out of gray stones and installed “pressure plates” on the floor that triggered a trap inside the maze. He stuck the mooshroom inside, where it would totter on and off the plates in an irregular pattern.
Presto: Jordan had used the cow’s weird behavior to create, in effect, a random-number generator inside Minecraft. It was an ingenious bit of problem-solving, something most computer engineers I know would regard as a great hack — a way of coaxing a computer system to do something new and clever.
When I visited Jordan at his home in New Jersey, he sat in his family’s living room at dusk, lit by a glowing iMac screen, and mused on Minecraft’s appeal. “It’s like the earth, the world, and you’re the creator of it,” he said. On-screen, he steered us over to the entrance to the maze, and I peered in at the contraptions chugging away. “My art teacher always says, ‘No games are creative, except for the people who create them.’ But she said, ‘The only exception that I have for that is Minecraft.’ ” He floated over to the maze’s exit, where he had posted a sign for the survivors: The journey matters more than what you get in the end.
Are we seeing a return to the ‘rugged manliness’ of Burt Reynolds and Tom Select? / CREDIT: GETTY
Once every few years, an item of clothing or grooming style long written off by the world makes an inexplicable and almighty comeback. From pocket squares to cargo trousers, the great unwashed happily adopt fads and fashions that, only months before, they presumed had been confined forever to the big lookbook in the sky.
While this means that a resurgence in mullets or shellsuits lurks forever on the horizon, I ask you to push those shuddersome thoughts to the back of your mind. Because we have bigger news: male chest hair is back on trend.
Yes, we’ve been here before. The furry front was a symbol of unbridled virility during much of the 20th century, worn with pride by Hollywood leading men like Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck. That all changed in the 1990s, however, when Mark ‘Marky’ Wahlberg’s smooth chested Calvin Klein advert set the world swooning – and its men waxing. Pileous pecs were out; trimmed torsos were in.
However, in the age of the lumbersexual, chest hair appears to be having a renaissance.
Passionate pothead and 15-year veteran journalist David Bienenstock came up with the idea for his latest book on January 1, 2014—the day America’s first retail marijuana stores opened to anyone 21 or older. The result: How to Smoke Pot (Properly), a pocket-size book that examines the past, present, and future of marijuana in an era of rapid change for the drug’s social acceptability. Published this month by Plume Books, Bienenstock takes readers on a humorous and informative trip through the drug’s various medicinal compounds, a timeline of the its history, and recipes that take you beyond the standard pot brownie—with pro tips from cannabis-friendly celebrities sprinkled throughout. Vanity Fair spoke to the Vice columnist, former High Times editor, and founder of a curated cannabis tourism company about marijuana culture, the double-edged sword of legalization, and how to fit in if you’re thinking of joining the so-called “green rush.”
Vanity Fair: In the book’s introduction, you write, “Please think of this humble tome in your hands not just as a handbook or a guidebook, but a call to metaphorical arms.” How would you summarize your “mission statement” for this book?
David Bienenstock: I think the book looks at where marijuana culture is right now and where we’re going, and I think it’s important amid all the excitement of legalization to realize that this culture and the people who grow and consume and share this plant are still being oppressed all over the world and even in the United States. So while we’ve gained a tremendous amount of freedom in places like Colorado and Washington, you go across the Colorado border into Kansas and you still have families being torn apart by this unconscionable war on weed. So I think the call, first of all, is to never forget that this is an ongoing campaign against this terribly misguided government policy, and that it’s [our responsibility] to participate not just in our own liberation but in everyone else’s. As long as one person is being oppressed for smoking marijuana, none of us are really free.
April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The world will celebrate him as the greatest writer in the history of the English language. But his lasting fame wasn’t inevitable. It almost did not happen.
He was born in 1564 and died in 1616 on his 52nd birthday. A celebrated writer and actor who had performed for Queen Elizabeth and King James, he wrote approximately 39 plays and composed five long poems and 154 sonnets. By the time of his death, he had retired and was considered past his prime.
By the 1620s, his plays were no longer being performed in theaters. On the day he died, no one — not even Shakespeare himself — believed that his works would last, that he was a genius or that future generations would hail his writings.
He hadn’t even published his plays — during his lifetime they were considered ephemeral amusements, not serious literature. Half of them had never been published in any form and the rest had appeared only in unauthorized, pirated versions that corrupted his original language.
Enter John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare’s friends, fellow actors and shareholders in the King’s Men theatrical company. In his will he left them money to buy gold memorial rings to remember him. By about 1620, they conceived a better way to honor him — one that would make them the two most unsung heroes in the history of English literature. They would do what Shakespeare had never done for himself — publish a complete, definitive collection of his plays.
Heminges and Condell had up to six types of sources available to them: Shakespeare’s original, handwritten drafts; manuscript “prompt books” copied from the drafts; fragment “sides” used by the actors and containing only the lines for their individual parts; printed quartos — cheap paperbound booklets — that published unauthorized and often wildly inaccurate versions of half the plays; after-the-fact memorial reconstructions by actors who had performed in the plays and later repeated their lines to a scribe hired by Heminges and Condell; and the editors’ own personal memories.
Viewing trees helps people become less stressed – and the effect increases the more trees are visible.
A new study by researchers at University of Illinois has confirmed the long-held understanding that natural scenery can be a useful tool in helping reduce psychological stress.
The research team, led by Dr Bin Jiang, subjected 158 volunteers to mildly stressful scenarios, including preparing a speech and delivering it to a group of people, after which they were asked to perform a subtraction task in front of judges and a video camera.
After undertaking the stress-inducing activities, the volunteers used a VR headset to view one of a selection of six-minute 360-degree videos featuring urban areas with variable amounts of visible tree canopy coverage.
The participants’ levels of stress were measured by self-reported questionnaire – and the results revealed a positive, linear association between the density of trees and recovery from stress recovery.
A still from Radiohead’s new video for the song “Burn the Witch.” Radiohead’s twitchy, anxious melodies express true apprehension about the future: both where we’re going and, more important, how we’re going to get there.
On Sunday, Radiohead bleached its Internet presence—its Web site faded to white; its Twitter and Facebook pages were scrubbed of content—a move so blatantly counterintuitive that acolytes knew to recognize it as a portent. The week prior, inscrutable paper leaflets had been stamped and shipped to some fans, embossed with the band’s toothy-bear logo and the words “Sing a song of sixpence that goes / Burn the Witch / We know where you live.” A new album: it is surely nigh.
Plucking an enigmatic postcard with the phrase “We know where you live” from the dark recesses of your home mailbox might alarm anyone unfamiliar with Radiohead’s elaborate, vaguely playful approach to the album rollout. Since the mid-two-thousands, the band has reconfigured record promotion as a kind of oddball scavenger hunt, embedding unlikely clues in unlikely places, a method that’s been adopted by younger bands like Arcade Fire. (Whether you find it pretentious or pleasurable might have something to do with your tolerance for extra-musical shenanigans.) On Tuesday, Radiohead released the video for “Burn the Witch,” also the presumptive title of its new record, and a song that has existed, in one form or another, since the sessions for “Kid A,” in 2000.
Add this to the running list of the world’s weirdest things no one asked for: an edible nail polish from KFC.
The fast food chain famous for its fried chicken and getting attacked by Peta announced that it’s taking scratch and sniff to a whole ‘nother level with its new line of edible nail polish. While the idea itself seems super absurd, things get hilariously worse when you realize the product’s slogan is “finger lickin’ good.”
CBS’ new summer murder mystery series is being shot close to home
By JOHN KUCKO
TORONTO, N.Y. (WROC-TV)
News 8 recently got up-close and behind the scenes of American Gothic – a summer series CBS expects to deliver gripping drama, starring Virginia Madsen and produced by Stephen Spielberg’s company.
American Gothic is a CBS murder mystery set in an affluent Boston suburb, but in reality, most of the show was shot not far from Rochester, in Toronto.
“It’s really become the place to be, it’s alive with it here,” said actress Stephanie Leonidas, who plays Sophie Hawthorne. “But what I like is there is so much going on in the film world here. It’s very much like London – it’s not the entire city, it’s kind of separate to that, and it’s a really chilled out relaxed city.”
John Kucko visited Cinespace Studios in Toronto, where more and more films and primetime series are being shot.
The spacious studio is now home to a full-scale hospital wing, which serves as the setting for the 13 episode murder mystery. But it’s still a movie set – open the right door, and you’ll find yourself in a construction zone.
Onscreen, TV producer Glen Mazzara shines a light on our darker natures. Offscreen, he’s trying to improve them.
Mazzara, creator of A&E’s Damien, inspired by the 1976 horror film The Omen, and former showrunner of The Walking Dead, is among the leading advocates to increase diversity among TV writing staffs, crews, and casts.
In 2002, Mazzara began speaking to minority and young writers on how to break into the system. Since 2012, he has co-chaired the Writers Guild of America, West’s Diversity Advisory Group with Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Their mission: to educate the WGA, studios, networks, agencies, and showrunners about diversity problems and develop methods to fix them.
Mazzara’s efforts have become especially pertinent, when accusations of Hollywood racism, sexism, and age discrimination have crescendoed, from the #OscarsSoWhite campaign decrying the absence of African American actor nominees, to disclosures of gender pay disparity, to “whitewashing” roles by casting white actors to play non-white characters. The 2016 WGAW Hollywood Writers Reportrevealed a mixture of glacial progress, stagnation and reversals in women, minority, and older writer employment and earnings.
Milo Ventimiglia and “Relationship Status” castmembers at Tribeca. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for go90)
Milo Ventimiglia’s had a busy year. Not only will he be reprising his role as nihilistic heartthrob Jess Mariano on Netflix’s much-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot, but he’s been working with James Frey (yep, the A Million Little Pieces dude) on Relationship Status, a new show streaming on Verizon’s free go90 app. The twelve-episode series, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows a few dozen 20-and-30-somethings in New York and Los Angeles as they try to navigate dating in a world full of apps and social media. We sat down with Ventimiglia, who produces and stars in the series, to talk a little about dating and television-watching in the digital age, as well as to dish on Jess’s return.
So you are in, and I believe you’re also producing, Relationship Status? Yeah, I’ve actually been a producer longer than I’ve been an actor on it. My partner Russ Cundiff and I were lucky enough to get a chance to work on it with Full Fathom Five, which is James Frey’s company, and Todd Cohen and Laura Terry over there. We’ve been on it with development for almost two years before he found a praetorship with StyleHaul, and they helped us get to the finish line and cross the finish line, and get it out in a way that, hopefully, a lot of audience is going to be aware of it and streaming it on Go90.
And how did you get involved? I had the script slipped to me, and my partner and I read it and we just loved it. We thought it was very relevant to the current trend of a million different dating apps today. Bumble and Riot and Happn, Tinder, and Grindr, and all these ways that people are meeting up nowadays and trying to find love, and even friendship, or even just something physical. It was a great story in the center of all that. And we thought it was relevant to a broader audience, so we jumped onboard and then we found a set of partners in StyleHaul. Once that happened, we moved pretty quick into production, wrangled up 30 actors in about 20 days, and shot a show.
For more than 30 years, Hustler’s flamboyant publisher Larry Flynt has continued to send the monthly magazine to every member of Congress.
Since 1983, Hustler has sent the porno mags in plain manila envelopes to every Congressional office as Mr. Flynt’s unique way of petitioning the government, National Journal reported.
Congress tried in 1984 to stop the unwanted porn subscription, but the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled two years later that the delivery of the magazine could not be stopped under the First Amendment.
“Receiving Hustler once each month would not unduly burden a Member of Congress,” the court wrote. “Members are not forced to read the magazine or other of the mail they receive in volume. We cannot imagine that Congressional offices all lack wastebaskets.”