Anthony Bourdain’s Legacy Ripples Beyond Chefs and Foodies

Anthony Bourdain

In honor of what would’ve been Anthony Bourdain’s 62nd birthday, June 25, we remember a man whose humble genius stemmed from a fearless spirit and passion to learn about the world. He devoured live cobra hearts in Vietnam. He tasted roasted sheep testicles in Morocco, and downed a seal eyeball in Canada. This was no pot-stirrer aiming to make extra bucks by plastering his face on TV screens or moonlighting as a judge on a reality show. Anthony Bourdain lived wildly because he was a rock star and bad boy trapped in a chef’s body. When he left us at 61, an outpouring of grief came from parts known and unknown. Not only did chefs and restaurateurs share their most treasured memories of how Bourdain influenced them, but so did Hollywood actors, authors and folks who were in love with Bourdain right from the release of his book Kitchen Confidential        …read more

LeBron James Continues to Defy the Hands of Time

In his 15th season, LeBron James has, remarkably, widened the gap between himself and the rest of the NBA. After leading his high school team to back-to-back state basketball titles, LeBron James was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and appeared on USA Today’s All-USA First Team list. Both feats were firsts for a sophomore. Before his junior year of high school, he appeared on the cover of SLAM magazine. He soon graced the cover of Sports Illustrated — a first for an underclassman. Then he became the first junior to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. In his senior year, his games were available on pay-per-view. In short, the hype surrounding James was nearly unprecedented. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected James with the no-brainer first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. All eyes were on the young phenom. Fast-forward 15 years and King James still rules the basketball world.        …read more

Roger Ebert’s Snarkiest Zero-Star Movie Reviews

Roger Ebert

In honor of Roger Ebert’s birthday, revisit his impassioned reviews of 8 movies he hated most. Born June 18, 1942, Roger Ebert became a household name back in the ’80s and ’90s partly because of his hit TV show with Gene Siskel on which the two critics rated movies “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” He also published movie reviews in the Chicago Sun-Times, and he was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Sadly, he passed away in 2013. With a career that spanned 45 years, Roger Ebert reviewed an estimated 10,000 movies. Most of those movies were graded on a scale from one-half star to four stars, but a select few (only about 60) received zero stars. When that happened, Ebert didn’t hold back his blunt opinions or snarky critiques, making his zero-star reviews a fun read. If you caught my thoughts on The Room,        …read more

Countdown: 7 Most Terrifying Jurassic Park Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park dinosaurs

These are the Jurassic Park dinosaurs that made us race home from theaters to take shelter under the blankets. The mere mention of dinosaurs in movies brings one franchise to mind: Jurassic Park. In 1993 childhood dinosaur dreams were brought to life with Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel, rousing awe and terror. Twenty-five years later, Jurassic Park is still revered for its amazing combination of practical and visual effects, continuously putting FX-heavy films to shame. The sequels don’t hold the greatness of the original’s spare-no-expense mentality, but they all provoke fear of prehistoric beasts that, should they exist today, would make humanity quiver in the face of its own extinction. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park and release of the fifth film in its franchise, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, let’s take a look at the seven most fear-inducing dinosaurs in its history that should make        …read more

The Rise of Pot Churches in the United States

pot churches

With cannabis as sacrament, pot churches bring together people of all spiritual backgrounds and send good vibes into the world. The legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use has opened the door for participatory events. You can, for example, do yoga with it, dispensary-hop, or attend an infused dining experience. Perhaps the most surprising of developments, though, are cannabis churches, which consider the flowering plant their sacrament. These “pot churches” aren’t a passing fad for members. Founders and parishioners take cannabis as sacrament very seriously. And their intentions for their congregations and communities are admirable: they want to send positive vibes into the world. Cannabis as Sacrament Colorado has become synonymous with marijuana — it was one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize recreational use, after all. And it’s home to the International Church of Cannabis. The church’s congregation of Elevationists come from different cultural and        …read more

From the Pulps to Modern Blockbusters: A Brief History of Noir & Neo-Noir

neo-noir

Max Allan Collins, Christa Faust and Gary Phillips discuss the beginnings of noir and recent developments in neo-noir. Neo-noir (from the Greek neo, which means new; and the French noir, meaning black) is a contemporary dark fiction subgenre with long roots in publishing and film history. It can be found in many different genres, including drama, fantasy, sci-fi and horror. In recent years, we’ve seen it in feature films (Blade Runner 2049, Road to Perdition), TV (Westworld, Better Call Saul) comic books (Southern Bastards, Kill or Be Killed) and novels (Gone Girl, Penny Dreadful). I spoke with Road to Perdition author Max Allan Collins, comic book writer Christa Faust, and crime author Gary Phillips about the ever-popular subgenre. “Noir is a term that derives from the French Série Noire publications,” said Collins, referring to an imprint based in Paris that released hardboiled detective thrillers. Collins credits American writers like James M.        …read more

20 Weird Laws That Actually Exist, Apparently

weird laws

Every state has its fair share of weird laws. You could be breaking one of them right now. Most of us try to follow the law. If not for the sake of a good conscience, we at least want to avoid fines or a trip to jail. The laws on this list, though? Well, it’s possible you’ve done the deed. And unlike laws that we’re all familiar with, you’ve probably never even heard of most of these. Many are absurd, some might not even be true, and rest assured, in most cases, breaking these laws will certainly not lead to jail time. As it turns out, laws that have been on the books for centuries often get buried rather than getting a formal appeal. Getting even the silliest of laws off the books costs legislative money and time. Every state has at least a handful of laws that read as        …read more

The Many Faces of Yoga

International Day of Yoga

Celebrating the 4th annual International Day of Yoga through the eyes of 7 yogis. Sisters and brothers of the world, a special day is upon us: The International Day of Yoga, on June 21. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the holiday to the UNGA in 2014 as a way to encourage people of all countries to embrace the harmony that yoga offers. “It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature,” Modi said in his proposal. This year marks the fourth celebration of this holiday, declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. It is fitting that Modi would request the summer solstice for this holiday: As the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it contains more light than any other. Ask any yogi about their journey, and you will find a unifying theme:        …read more

6 Easy Yoga Asanas to Integrate into Your Yoga Day Celebration

For International Yoga Day, make the mind/body connection with these simple poses. Around the world on June 21, yogis will take part in International Yoga Day, aka Yoga Day. The day pays homage to yoga practice and the unity of the mind and body. It’s not so much about the physical benefits of yoga but about making the connection with the inner self, bringing awareness to pranayama (breath). Yoga Day embodies the philosophy of yoga and its practice to lead a mindful, non-judging, ego-free, conscious life while being present within yourself. Here we take a look at six simple asanas that you can practice in honor of Yoga Day that will aid you in making that mind/body connection. The step-by-step instructions were inspired by Journey into Power by Baron Baptiste, founder of the Baptiste Power of Yoga Institute. All the poses can be practiced by people of all ages and        …read more

June Quan of Stir and Style Talks Leaving Law for Instagram, Restaurants and Real Estate

Quan left her job as an entertainment lawyer to follow her passion (and stomach), and gravitated toward social media. From selling one-of-a-kind dishes as a vendor at Smorgasburg LA to sharing her favorite meals and restaurants with her 261k Instagram followers, June Quan does it all. The creator of the popular food, travel, fitness and fashion blog Stir and Style and @stirandstyle Instagram, Quan has emerged as an LA influencer known for embracing the hustle — and serving up some of the best ramen videos and workout routines from Santa Monica to San Gabriel Valley. Quan is a natural entrepreneur, but she used to close legal cases instead of food orders, ad accounts and restaurant leases. With a love of food and talent for on-camera hosting, Quan built followings on Instagram and YouTube. But she hasn’t stopped there. Quan also helped open three Smorgasburg vendors (as seen on Foodbeast and        …read more

‘Grease’ Is Still the Word 40 Years Later

Grease anniversary

On the 40th anniversary of ‘Grease,’ take a nostalgic trip back in time. As Grease turns 40 on June 16, 2018, I’ve decided to make myself vulnerable. I’m talking the die-hard-fan, some-people-might-find-this-embarrassing kind of vulnerable here. When Grease came out, I was seven years old. My parents and I waited in a line that went around the block. Standing in lines that long for movies was a new thing. In my short time on this planet, I’d done it twice before. The first time I was four, and the movie was Jaws. The second time I was six, and you can probably guess the film… Star Wars. My parents were either extremely forward-thinking or reckless in choosing what movies I was allowed to see. I go with forward-thinking, as movies always have been and will be a huge part of my life. They make me laugh, cry, escape the negatives,        …read more

A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Doing Weird Shit

Shia LaBeouf

Ahh, Shia LaBeouf. You lovable scamp, you. People say you’re crazy, Shia LaBeouf. They say you’ve lost the plot. They tell me to stop writing you letters — that you’ll never respond. But I know you read them, Shia. I know you’re reading this right now, Shia. I know everything, Shia. I can read your mind, Shia. Oh yeah? Prove it, friend, is what you just said to your screen, Shia. Now you’re freaking out. You’re trying to trick me, trying to think completely random things to prove to yourself that you aren’t crazy and that I’m not reading your mind. But I am, Shia. Purple lemur in roller skates spinning gracefully on an upside-down Toyota. See? I’m in your head, Shia. Accept it. Embrace it. I’m not writing this article for my fans, of which there are plenty. No, I’m writing this for you. See, I’ve been watching you. Studying        …read more

Worried about Privacy? 5 Reasons to Leave Google for DuckDuckGo

Unlike Google, the DuckDuckGo search engine doesn’t track you. In 2006 Gabriel Weinberg sold a company for millions. A year and a half later, he founded his next project with the money: an alternative search engine named DuckDuckGo. Initially the goal was to make it more efficient and compelling than Google by cutting down on spam and providing instant answers, similar to a Wikipedia or IMDb. The project launched in 2008, bringing Weinberg’s brainchild into public consciousness. But Weinberg didn’t realize at the time that the main reason people were wary of Google wasn’t the user experience but how the search engine tracked its users. Being the astute entrepreneur that Weinberg is, he instantly saw this as an area for opportunity and a way to compete with one of the largest companies in the world. As a result, DuckDuckGo became the go-to search engine for privacy — long before the        …read more

23 Anne Frank Quotes That Will Inspire You & Break Your Heart

Anne Frank quotes

On her birthday, June 12, read the most powerful Anne Frank quotes. On Anne Frank’s 13th birthday, she received a red-and-white-checkered autograph book that she almost immediately began using as a diary. Less than a month later, Frank and her family went into hiding in the “Secret Annex” located in the office building of her father, Otto Frank. His most trusted employees, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, along with Gies’ husband, Jan Gies, and Voskuijl’s father, Johannes Voskuijl, risked their lives to aid the family by supplying them with food and other necessities. Frank could pack only a precious few items, and her diary (which she named Kitty) was one of them. For the next two years, Frank recorded the details of life in the annex. One might expect that the subject matter of The Diary of a Young Girl would be inaccessible to young readers due        …read more

James Rallison on TheOdd1sOut Comics, Animations & New Book

TheOdd1sOut comics

The creator takes us back to the beginning of TheOdd1sOut comics and his enormously popular YouTube animation channel and teases his new book. On June 14, 2012, 16-year-old James Rallison posted the first in a new webcomic on his Tumblr page. It took him 100 comics to gain 100 followers, about a year to settle on a defined style of sketching, and more than two years to make the transition to YouTube. But since these humble beginnings, the now-21-year-old animator amassed a following of more than seven million YouTube subscribers (at the time of this writing) who wait with baited breath for new videos to appear on his channel, TheOdd1sOut. With a quirky sense of humor and self-voiced characters, Rallison’s personality is at the heart of what makes TheOdd1sOut such a hit — his comics aren’t just funny but also relatable. While videos like “My Thoughts on the Science Fair        …read more

M.I.A.: The Art of Defying the System

M.I.A.

Why does the music industry resist artists like M.I.A.? What kind of artist would you prefer: one programmed to perform or one with a strong point of view? Consider, if you will, how many young hopefuls have entered the entertainment industry with nothing more than a dream and a smidgen of talent. They get picked up by someone — a record label, an executive, some famed producer — and this means everything. Getting picked up means family and friends applaud you, enemies from school see your face on the cover of magazines, and a sizable paycheck is in your future. It also means your individuality will be slowly stripped away. “Do you want to be famous, or what? Lose the accent, dress this way, don’t say that, sing this, promote that, suck here…” Such “experts” style and media-train these young hopefuls within an inch of their lives this side of        …read more

A Sinner and A Saint: Meredith Brooks and the Lasting Legacy of ‘Bitch’

Meredith Brooks

Whether you’re in the shower, car or karaoke bar, Meredith Brooks’ ‘Bitch’ is still the perfect tune to sing at the top of your lungs. Remember that song that brags about being a bitch, a lover, a child and a mother? Good. Now, without peeking at the headline, do you remember who sings that song? Hint: It’s not Alanis Morissette, Sophie B. Hawkins or Paula Cole — although you’re forgiven for assuming any of those. Her name is Meredith Brooks, and while it may not ring a bell for anyone beyond music trivia fanatics, the song’s opening line, “I hate the world today,” might just do it. Rife with self-assured lines like “Take me as I am” and “Don’t try to save me,” “Bitch” is viewed by some as a feminist anthem. Others have seen it as justification for being an unapologetic a—hole, set to a mellow, catchy melody. For        …read more

8 Best Arts and Crafts Shows across the U.S.

arts and crafts shows

This summer, head out to one of these arts and crafts shows to get your hands on the works of indie makers near you. Founded in 2005, Etsy provides a wealth of handmade items from individuals selling their wares, including art, clothing, bath-and-body products, baby items, home goods, accessories and more. As online shopping has grown over the last 20 years into a billion-dollar industry, champions have often hailed sites like Etsy as a revolutionary step in humanity’s ongoing quest to get all shopping done without ever leaving the house. Despite millions in sales on Etsy, however, nothing beats being able to hold and feel an item in your hands before buying it, and nothing ever beats a giant fair in the summer when you can see hundreds of sellers peddle their goods in a party atmosphere. Every summer brings throngs of potential sellers to arts and crafts shows throughout        …read more

5 Heroic and Gruesome Deaths of Religious Saints

religious saints

From bronze bulls to severed heads, according to Catholic tradition these religious saints courageously faced gory deaths. The word “saint” is derived from a Greek verb meaning “to set apart,” “sanctify,” or “make holy.” Catholicism has a long history of using the term to refer to extremely holy men and women who possess a unique and rare, unwavering faith. Because these people have demonstrated a willingness to endure persecution, often suffering horrific physical torture for their beliefs, Christians around the globe regularly honor (and even worship) these unique individuals. The list below contains a few heroic religious saints who suffered particularly gory fates. 1. St. Denis of Paris (Beheaded) Born in Italy, St. Denis was distinguished for his enduring faith and virtuous life. After building a church in the Seine, Denis preached the Gospel and was responsible for countless conversions, which quickly angered many, particularly Governor Fescenninus Sisinnius. Soon after,        …read more

The 5 Sexiest Songs by Prince

songs by Prince

The singer, songwriter, actor and sex symbol released more than 40 albums in fewer years. Here are just 5 of the most sensuous songs by Prince. More than 30 years ago, on a now-defunct late-night talk show, comedian Joan Rivers interviewed then-singer and actress Vanity about the man who quite literally made her who she was. Since the Prince gave the actress her name, a girl group, and a number-one song, Vanity made many talk show appearances in the mid-’80s. But an interview with the outspoken Joan Rivers was hardly ever just another celebrity interview. So when Vanity admitted she’d thought Prince was gay when she first met him, Joan’s candid response was hardly surprising: “That makes sense! The man weighs 100 pounds, and 50 of them are sequins,” she shrieked. “I mean, you would think he’s gay. He makes Michael Jackson look like a Green Beret!” The audience exploded with        …read more

LeVar Burton on ‘Reading Rainbow’ and the Next Generation of Literacy

Reading Rainbow

As ‘Reading Rainbow’ turns 35, LeVar Burton talks about the role of technology in promoting our love of reading — then and now. Reading Rainbow first aired on June 6, 1983. Each episode featured a different children’s book, often narrated by a celebrity, as well as book reviews by kids and other related segments called “video field trips,” not to mention one of the catchiest theme songs of all time. Reading Rainbow succeeded in large part due to the show’s Emmy-winning host and executive producer LeVar Burton, whose lifelong goal has been to promote literacy and help children learn to love reading. LeVar Burton was the voice of my childhood, starring in three of my all-time favorite shows: Reading Rainbow, Captain Planet and Star Trek: The Next Generation. On the 35th anniversary of Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton spoke with Crixeo about the history of the show, as well as his        …read more

Mister Rogers Liked Us Just the Way We Were, But Would He Now?

Mister Rogers

Happy 50th to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and our favorite neighbor. A documentary and a commemorative stamp are just two of the many works of art marking the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood this year. In 2019 we’ ll also be blessed with a Tom Hanks–starring biopic of Mister Fred Rogers’ life. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which began airing in February 1968, ran 895 episodes. That kind of staying power and our continued devotion illustrate that we still value the lessons inherent in the show. Because of political and social parallels between the beginning of Mister Rogers’ TV career and now, his message still resonates in the current climate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA Funding for public broadcasting has recently been threatened, as it was in 1969 when Mister Rogers testified before Congress to advocate for support. In the video of his testimony that’s been making the rounds on the internet again, he called his work “a neighborhood expression        …read more

Superhero 101: Squirrel Girl

Teen Avengers Squirrel Girl

In anticipation of ‘Marvel’s New Warriors,’ meet fan-favorite Squirrel Girl. This year a team of teenage heroes will reach new audiences in Marvel’s New Warriors. Created in 1991 as a lighthearted reaction to superheroes who’d grown too serious, Marvel’s New Warriors introduced us to an endearing group of teen heroes who normally didn’t get a lot of time in the spotlight dominated by heroic Avengers and Uncanny X-Men. Although Squirrel Girl was never a part of the comic book team, she has been tapped to be a part of the young crew in the upcoming Marvel’s New Warriors TV series. Squirrel Girl is a relatively obscure Marvel character, if you don’t follow comics. However, she’s tremendously popular among comic book readers, who’ve long been clamoring to see her as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So why the huge fandom? Maybe because Squirrel Girl’s a lot like the folks who read        …read more

Hannah Cranston Talks ThinkTank, The Young Turks & the Future of News

ThinkTank Hannah Cranston

Hannah Cranston of ThinkTank and The Young Turks discusses what’s involved in producing the viral news and culture videos. If you’ve been on Facebook this year, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Hannah Cranston’s face in your news feed. Perhaps you caught her rebuking media outlets for blaming women for men’s killing sprees, explaining why tourism is down in the U.S. or chronicling the rise of the alt-right. The 26-year-old cohost and executive producer of ThinkTank, a YouTube talk show channel in TYT (The Young Turks) Network, has helped rack up more than 1.3 million subscribers and more than a half billion views on YouTube — and she’s nowhere near slowing down. With millennials and Generation Z more engaged in current events than ever, ThinkTank’s daily videos defy genre by spanning them all — from Kim Jong Un to Gigi Hadid, from politics to pop culture, there’s no topic this channel        …read more

The Science & Spirituality of Near-Death Experiences

What really happens in a near-death experience? We asked the experts. What happens when we die? The answer is elusive. And a near-death experience is probably not something you want to run out to experience firsthand (unless you’re a Flatliner). The term “near-death experience” was coined by Dr. Raymond Moody to indicate a harrowing encounter with death. Although more than 40 years have passed since he first used the term in 1975, interest in near-dear experiences shows no signs of waning. Near-Death Experiences Dr. Moody brought near-death experiences into the public eye in 1975 when he released his groundbreaking book Life After Life. Featuring stories from 100 individuals declared clinically dead and brought back to life, it introduced the public to phenomena that are now synonymous with near-death experiences, at least in pop culture: a bright light, a tunnel, loved ones waiting “on the other side.” One excerpt from Moody’s        …read more

Summertime Blues Are Here to Stay…On Your Headphones

summertime blues

Got a case of the summertime blues? You’re not alone, and these sad summertime songs are good company. Waves crashing on a beach, children jingling change as they run out to meet the ice cream truck, clinking glasses and laughter coming from a nearby barbecue… For many, these are the invigorating sounds of summer, the noises that wash away the dark memories of rainy, snowy days spent cramped indoors. Yet for some, no amount of sunblock or self-tanner can hide their summertime blues. The condition, though not technically a medical one, has impacted some of the most prominent pop-culture icons, from Lana Del Rey to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson (yes, believe it or not, even the king of summertime fun can be a bit salty about the end of carefree beach days). Go into any club between June and September, and you’ll likely hear Lana Del Rey’s moody “Summertime        …read more

Fragments of a Star: The Myth of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

One of the great muses of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe continues to drive our imagination. Did Marilyn Monroe believe in astrology? In the best-selling novel Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates decided she did. Born June 1, 1926, “The Girl” Marilyn Monroe was an ever-changing Gemini soul. Monroe’s career spanned just over a decade, and in that time she starred in some of the greatest American films of all time, became the first nude cover star for Playboy and had relationships with the most powerful men in the world. At just 36 years old, she died of a pill overdose in an apparent suicide. Monroe’s mysterious life and the artifice of her screen persona have made her one of Hollywood’s greatest myths. Her screen persona blended raw sensuality with childlike innocence. As Norman Mailer wrote, she was “Nana and Joan of Arc exist[ing] in the same flesh.” Or, as it’s laid        …read more

Alzheimer’s Association Art Program Revives Lost Memories

Alzheimer’s Association

With the backing of the Alzheimer’s Association, an art program called Memories in the Making helps people paint their memories. Losing one’s memory through dementia — be it short-term or long-term — is an excruciating experience both for the sufferer and for their loved ones. Often, people who live with dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments don’t know how to interact or function in a world that no longer works easily for them. But the Alzheimer’s Association is combating the isolation and disempowerment of dementia through a program called Memories in the Making (MIM). Memories in the Making began in California over 20 years ago when art therapist Selly Jenny faced the dilemma of communicating with her own mother, who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Jenny began using art to help communicate with her mother, and the program quickly grew with the backing of the Alzheimer’s Association.        …read more

Josephine Baker: Entertainer, War Hero, Civil Rights Champion

Josephine Baker

It’s time to rediscover Josephine Baker, the world-famous entertainer who stood for equality. One of the most significant entertainers of the 20th century, Josephine Baker isn’t as recognized as she should be today, partly because it’s not easy to access the few films she appeared in. It is, however, time to rediscover her, as so many lessons learned from her life are at risk of being forgotten. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906, Baker would emigrate and gain fame in Paris as a hypnotic dancer at the Folies Bergiere, and would go on to become a correspondent for the French Resistance during World War II, an ambassador for racial harmony as a mother to 12 adopted children she called the Rainbow Tribe, and a champion of civil rights who would eventually speak alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Born to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson,        …read more

‘Queer Eye’: The Reality Show America Needs Right Now Returns

Queer Eye

Netflix releases season 2 on June 15. We’re still not sure what a culture expert is, but could Karamo Brown and all the Fab Five please give America a makeover? The “culture” expert on Queer Eye has always been the most dubious of the show’s makeover gurus. On the Netflix reboot, which hit screens — small, tiny, and the ones that fit in your pocket — in February and returns June 15, culture expert Karamo Brown took the job to a whole new low. He spent most of the series doing what he loves best: wearing shiny satin bomber jackets and trying to stay out of the way of the more skilled professionals working around him. He did have a moment, though, in the third episode of season one. The Fab Five were making over Cory, a cop whose penchant for wearing costumes to NASCAR events should be a diagnostic category in the        …read more

‘Westworld’ Season 2: The Women Are Running the Show

Westworld season 2

How ‘Westworld’ season 2 turned female robots with zero agency into powerful and painfully human characters. When the first season of Westworld debuted, the show was rife with casual violence and sexual assault perpetrated against female characters. The fact that these characters were AI didn’t help very much when it came to watching them suffer on-screen. Perhaps worst of all, although there were a few strong female characters in the form of humans, such as Elsie and Therese, the robot women were completely without any real agency or self-awareness in the beginning of this show. Their code was written to force them to act a certain way, say certain lines and live a certain life — and they blindly followed the script, unaware that the choices they made and the things that happened to them were completely out of their control. So it’s understandable that many feminist viewers may have        …read more

Rise of the Cardinal: Ghost’s Comeback and Return to the Stage

Hard-rock sensation Ghost returns to the limelight with their Rats on the Road tour. The last few months have been very big for Satanic-tinted hard-rock band Ghost. After a substantial hiatus, a lawsuit and the resulting exposure of their previously anonymous identities, Ghost has come back with a new front man, single, album release date and tour. From magazine features to charts and lists, all eyes are on them, and it looks like Ghost is more than happy with the resurrection. And “resurrection” is honestly the best word for it, when you understand what’s been happening to the band since their last run promoting their Grammy-winning album Meliora with front man Papa Emeritus III. I’ll preface this with a spoiler alert — or something close to that. The front man and creator of Ghost has been forced out of anonymity, but many fans of the band like to retain his anonymity        …read more

How Jack White Became One of the Most Influential Men in Music

Jack White

By bringing the past into the future, Jack White has changed the way we experience music. When we think of the artists who revolutionized the rock music industry, we often harken back to the artists of yesteryear. Jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane influenced rockers like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, who in turn paved the way for the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Their classic sounds produced entire generations of copycats who churned out hit after hit, only to be replaced by the next big thing. For a while, it felt like originality was dead. Then came Jack White. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, White (née John Anthony Gillis), has always been something of an enigma. Though known for his unconventional, slap-you-in-the-face guitar riffs, he grew up listening to classic country and blues, including the Stooges, Son House, Captain Beefheart, Charley Patton and Loretta Lynn. The White        …read more

The Yellow Fever Plot of 1864: A Confederate Conspiracy

yellow fever

Have you heard of this Civil War–era bioterrorism plot? Though many assume that germ warfare is a fairly modern method of war, the use of biological weapons, including the use of venoms, plant toxins and other poisonous substances to infect and defeat enemies is, in fact, an ancient practice. The earliest documented incidents involve victims infected with tularemia being driven into enemy lands, which resulted in a widespread epidemic. Other notable examples include Scythian archers (during the 4th century BC) who dipped the tips of their arrows in snake venom, human blood and animal feces to cause enemies’ wounds to become infected. Similar efforts first occurred in North America as early as the French and Indian War, when the British provided representatives of indigenous tribes with blankets and smallpox-exposed handkerchiefs enclosed in small metal boxes. One of the most organized and diabolical efforts to infect civilians in the United States        …read more