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Why It’s So Hard to Keep Beaux-Arts Museums Looking Beautiful

1 hour ago

It’s time again to thank Messrs. ­Carnegie, Frick, Warburg, Vanderbilt, Morgan & Co. The plutocrats of the last Gilded Age left us unfathomable architectural treasures that we cherish and fight over but are still not sure how to care for. They erected houses, museums, and libraries in the form of temples and Renaissance palazzos, great hunks of ornate stone, carved wood, and intricate parquet, anthologies of precious materials and medieval craft. Some have been lost; touch what’s left and we get angry, alter them and we despair. As Manhattan keeps remaking itself, one shuttered shoe-repair store and vanished brownstone at a time, these ornate piles endure—the Frick, the Cooper Hewitt, the Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum, each with its tribe of passionate loyalists.None of them is pristine. From the beginning, they experienced decades of fitful renovation, and their occupants still keep bursting through walls. There’s never enough space. »

- Justin Davidson

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What's Going on With Garth Brooks and Ireland?

15 hours ago

According to the Irish Independent, around 50 Garth Brooks fans gathered to protest the Dublin city council's decision to limit the country singer's concert dates from five days to three. While this might seem like an injustice to country fans everywhere, the guitar hero is not necessarily in the right, saying that the city either allows him to play all five shows, or he'll cancel the entire tour. Fans, of course, are beside themselves. The situation has become a political morass for the city, involving disgruntled neighborhood residents, concert organizers, and even the prime minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny.Here's how it began: back in January Garth Brooks announced three tour dates in Croke Park as part of his comeback tour. Tickets sold out scary fast — 240,000 tickets sold in 90 minutes. Sensing an opportunity to make more money, concert organizers added more dates, selling around 400,000 tickets in total. The »


- E. Alex Jung

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Watch Boyz II Men Croon for a Wendy’s Pretzel Bun

18 hours ago

On the heels of the generically cheesy music video composed of tweets, Wendy's has released an "encore" version titled "Yes Yes Yes!" starring the maestros of the '90s love song, Boyz II Men, as part of its promotion of the return of its "pretzel bun." The R&B trio sang tweets celebrating the pretzel bun's return ("Can you keep the pretzel bun Forever?"), explained emojis ("little hand sign that means an okay"), and harmonized to "Om nom nom." Now that two Sing-Off alums (Nick Lachey and Shawn Stockman) have sung for their Wendy's supper, hopefully this means that Ben Folds is next. »


- E. Alex Jung

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Amazon’s New Dramedy Will Be Binge-Watchable

19 hours ago

Amazon has decided on a Netflix-style release pattern for its much buzzed-about new show Transparent: All ten episodes of the comedic drama will be available for streaming at once come late September. Series creator Jill Soloway revealed the scheduling Saturday while appearing in front of a room of journalists and critics at the semi-annual TV Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. For its first two big shows (Alpha House and Betas), Amazon released episodes weekly, though Amazon programming chief Roy Price told Vulture last spring that he’d be open to a Netflix-style binge-friendly rollout. By releasing episodes all at once, Amazon is hoping to make the Transparent release feel like an event (something its first two shows weren't). It also means the show will be debuting just as the broadcast networks are releasing their new crop of programs during "premiere week," making it easier for TV journalists »


- Joe Adalian

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Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart for Negligence in Fatal Car Crash

20 hours ago

Tracy Morgan is suing Walmart for negligence in the June car crash on the New Jersey turnpike that left him and several others hospitalized and killed fellow comic James McNair. According to the suit, Morgan and others allege Walmart was "careless and negligent" because the company "knew, or should have known" that the driver, Kevin Roper, who had to commute over 700 miles before starting his shift, had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the accident. The suit alleges that this was "unreasonable" and that Roper's hours were not in compliance with federal standards to combat driver fatigue. Furthermore, they claim that Walmart "not only failed to condemn, but condoned this practice of its drivers routinely violating" federal regulations.In response, Walmart released the following statement: "This has been a terrible tragedy … Our thoughts continue to go out to [the victims], their families and friends, as well as to the families and »


- E. Alex Jung

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Tommy, the Last Original Ramone, Dies at 62

21 hours ago

Tommy Ramone, the last original member of the punk rock group The Ramones, died Friday in Ridgewood, Queens. Ramone, born as Tom Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, began as the group’s drummer before handing over his sticks in 1978, and working as the band’s record producer. He was 62.The Ramones Facebook page announced his death earlier on Friday with the following quote from Tommy: "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music — it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.” The Ramones' influence vastly outstripped their commercial success. None of their albums ever cracked the top 20 on Billboard, and their biggest hit was arguably "Baby, I Love You," which »


- E. Alex Jung

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Graphic-Novel Scene Explained

23 hours ago

Midway through Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which opens this weekend, there is a nice little moment when teenage human Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) sits down and reads the book he's been carrying around all movie to the orangutan Maurice. The scene, which you can watch below, is a minor yet compelling bit of warmth that cuts through the film's tension. So, what is this book that bonds these noble primates?  Dark yet strangely beautiful, Charles Burns's award-winning Black Hole was told over the course of 12 issues, between 1995 and 2005. It tells the story of a suburban Seattle high school in the 1970s in which students contract an Std called "the bug" or the "teen plague," which results in grotesque body mutations (horns, tales, snakelike scales, etc.), turning some into monsters of a sort. Eventually, this disease infects many kids, and they decide to flee and build a »


- Jesse David Fox

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Talking Gluten-Free Living, and Other Cults, With Brit Marling

12 July 2014 5:00 AM, PDT

“What is this light? Is my phone spying on us?” Brit Marling is peering at her iPhone, which has begun emitting a piercing white light from its back. The 31-year-old actress, in the city for the premiere of her latest movie, I Origins (out July 18), is standing on a bench at the rooftop bar of the Conrad hotel. It’s the middle of the afternoon on a cloudless 90-something-degree day, and she’s trying to get a picture of the view from Battery Park of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor. She can’t figure out how to turn off the light, so she ignores it and snaps away. “This is it—this is the New York view.” Marling steps down from the bench, arranges her pale-pink silk skirt and blouse, and settles in front of a table full of pastries from Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery ordered up specially for us. »


- Marisa Meltzer

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Here’s Everything We Know So Far About Better Call Saul

11 July 2014 6:54 PM, PDT

The Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul will be set six years before Saul and Walter White meet, circa 2002. According to official word from AMC, the prequel will pick up when Saul was known as Jimmy McGill, “a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny.” Mike will be there as his “fixer.” Though it's been described previously as a comedy, a release says “the series’ tone is dramatic, woven through with dark humor.” So, pretty much like Breaking Bad. “It’s a leap of faith or stupidity into the unknown,” Vince Gilligan told reporters during AMC’s summer press-tour session. Gilligan is serving as executive producer and co-showrunner alongside Peter Gould.Even though the show will be set in the past, Gilligan said it doesn’t preclude the previously reported idea that Better Call Saul would jump back and forth in time. "You saw from Breaking Bad that we like nonlinear storytelling, »


- Denise Martin

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The Strain, Guillermo del Toro’s New Vampire TV Show, Is Perfect Summer Schlock

11 July 2014 3:44 PM, PDT

During high school and college I used to go to a decrepit mall on the other side of town. Most of the spaces that normally would have held stores had been empty for years, but the pedestrian areas were open and filled with flea market–type stalls where people sold homemade and used goods. People brought dogs and cats into the mall. On weekends you could sometimes buy freshly laid eggs and homemade tamales and churros there. You'd see people having tailgate parties in the parking lot. The only "respectable" business holdout was the movie theater, which showed films for a dollar. My friends and I used to go there on Friday or Saturday nights to catch the midnight shows, which were raucous affairs. Cigarettes and joints were smoked. People talked back to the screen. Beer was openly consumed. It was a rare screening that didn't include the sound of »

- Matt Zoller Seitz

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How Patricia Arquette Got Her Finest Role in Years With Boyhood

11 July 2014 2:45 PM, PDT

Patricia Arquette has a bone to pick with people who call her new film Boyhood a coming-of-age tale. "It's not just the kids growing up in this movie," she told Vulture recently. "It's the grown-ups, too." Arquette is right, of course: Director Richard Linklater has been hailed for the unique way he shot Boyhood, filming the movie in small installments over a series of twelve years so we can watch young Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) actually age from tyke to college freshman, but Mason's divorced parents (played by Arquette and Ethan Hawke) mature as well. In the case of Arquette's harried mother Olivia, though, that evolution is anything but steady: She has to weather several ill-advised relationships before she can finally come out the other end older and wiser. Last month, Arquette sat down with Vulture to discuss the movie and her best big-screen role in years.I was »


- Kyle Buchanan

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The Loveliness of the Long-Distance Artist: On Kawara, 1933–2014

11 July 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

The great Zen-proto-conceptualist, On Kawara, has died at the age of 81. In a time of art stars, overnight sensations, and flashes in the pan, Kawara's long artistic river has glided silently through the art world. On January 4, 1966, he began making thousands of straightforward alphanumerical paintings of dates that were destroyed if not completed in one day; in 1969, he began a many-decade performance work in which he had people count one million years, one at a time, producing a multi-volume typed document, a tomb of the recitation. This enigmatic geomancer of invisible infinities finally reached the ultimate algorithm.Like the knowledge that a Vermeer painting is out there, Kawara's art — as dry and cerebral as it can seem — reassures in its healing presence on earth. He never publicized the date of his birth, refused to be interviewed, and shunned being photographed. For years, friends knew of »

- Jerry Saltz

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Best of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Streaming: Coming-of-Age Movies

11 July 2014 1:45 PM, PDT

This weekend, you should either go see Boyhood or pick one of approximately 14 billion options available to stream (at least until the next screening of Boyhood is available). Every Friday, Vulture tries to make life easier by narrowing it down to a handful of heartily recommended options. This week, grow up all over again in Compton, Tokyo, Athens, Georgia, and small-town New Zealand.Boyz n the Hood  (Stream on Netflix)Don't let the recent Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction fool you: When 24-year-old John Singleton picked up a Best Director nomination in 1992, making him the youngest filmmaker in Oscar history to do so, he earned it. Early on, Boyz n the Hood could be confused for a South Central–set Stand by Me, 10-year-old Tre Styles drifting through a childhood of ball-busting friendships and bullies. Tree and his buddies even find a dead body. But unlike Stand by Me, there's no »


- Matt Patches

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Happy Anniversary, Orange Is the New Black!

11 July 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

Surprise! It is the one-year anniversary of the premiere of Orange Is the New Black. (The year goes so fast when you have two seasons to binge-watch.) While the cast and showrunners celebrate with multiple Emmy nominations, you can commemorate the one-year anniversary with a little help from Vulture. Here is a comprehensive reading list of all the many Orange Is the New Black interviews and recaps we have published over the past year. Reading them is almost as fun as a party!Interviews Jenji Kohan’s Week in Pop-Culture Consumption2 p.m.: Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom. “We watched it in the writers’ room. Now we have to work it into the show so no one can sue us for harassment.” A Day Apartment Hunting With Natasha Lyonne“Here’s hard evidence that I’m aging: When I was a little girl, the goal was to move out of Brooklyn, »


- Nikki Erlick

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Clayne Crawford on Having Relaxed Douche Face and Defending Rectify’s Poor Ted Jr.

11 July 2014 1:00 PM, PDT

Chances are you know Clayne Crawford as that guy who always plays the jerk-off. The actor, 36, has long been typecast as the villain, most recently in 24 and Justified, and going back to his smirkiest work in teen movies like Swimfan and A Walk to Remember. But in Ray McKinnon’s outstanding small-town drama Rectify, Crawford gets to be heartbreaking as a frustrated tire salesman whose world is turned upside down when his brother-in-law is released from Death Row. Vulture chatted with Crawford about feeling bad for fratty Ted Jr., long days on set, and coming to terms with a chronic case of what he calls relaxed douche face.Things are falling apart for Teddy. His marriage is in trouble. The tire business is in bad shape. I’m sure there are plenty of people who still want to punch him for the way he treats Daniel, but I just feel »


- Denise Martin

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The Problems, and Power, of The Passenger

11 July 2014 12:45 PM, PDT

“Angesichts der Wirklichkeit ist alles Erfinden obszön.” “In the face of reality, all fiction is obscene.” That sentence, by the Austrian writer Jürg Amann, came back to me during the Lincoln Center Festival performance of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Holocaust opera The Passenger. The director David Pountney cites the line in a program note, acknowledging the moral challenge of transplanting a chorus of the doomed from Auschwitz to an operatic stage. Based on the novel by the Polish camp survivor Zofia Posmysz, composed in the 1960s, suppressed by the Soviet state, and left unperformed until 2010, The Passenger has been resurrected in the guise of a historical triumph — a tale that must be told, a score that must be heard. But it remains troubling, an earnest, frequently beautiful, and fitfully powerful drama about the relationship between prisoner and guard. Its many splendid moments aestheticize Auschwitz; its weaker ones fall back on »


- Justin Davidson

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Let’s Talk About the Ending of Snowpiercer

11 July 2014 12:30 PM, PDT

Have you seen Snowpiercer yet? Do you plan to? You should. Our movie critic David Edelstein called it “a fun dystopian sci-fi epic,” and with its arrival on VOD today and expansion into even more theaters this weekend, it is way too easy for you to watch the Bong Joon-ho film. So get on that! The rest of us will be here discussing the movie, so come back once you’ve made us proud. [Major, major spoilers ahead!]After the Snowpiercer train makes its final crash landing (and Boom goes the Kronole!), what happens to humanity? Does the film end without hope (as it seems to imply), or would the odds still be impossibly stacked against our final two survivors making it on their own for very long, what with that polar bear giving them the big eye? (In case you forgot what that polar bear looked like at the end ...) Director »


- Lindsey Weber

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The 5 Things You Need to Know About Masters of Sex Before Season 2

11 July 2014 12:15 PM, PDT

The terrific Masters of Sex returns for its second season on Sunday, but if you haven't seen the first season, don't let that dissuade you from jumping in. The show is very accessible, and you can skip right to season two! (And you kind of have to, since it's not streaming anywhere.) All you need to know are these five things:Michael Sheen plays William "Bill" Masters. He's rigid and fussy and has that classic TV-scientist thing of being overly clinical and emotionally distant. Do you get the irony? He interviews people about sex! Sometimes he even films them! But he himself is so uptight! He and Virginia decided to start having sex with each other and filming it — you know, just for the study, but they also started falling for each other. This is complicated by the fact that Bill is married, pretty happily, to the slightly naïve Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald, »


- Margaret Lyons

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How Belle Became the Summer Movie Season’s Secret Hit

11 July 2014 12:00 PM, PDT

As a film director, Amma Asante shrinks from very little — to mount a film of considerable scope, like her hit costume drama Belle, requires a surplus of confidence that the warm and direct Assante exhibits in spades. Still, as she walked up the stairs of Oprah Winfrey’s Montecito mansion last May for a garden party that the media mogul threw to honor Belle, Asante clutched the hands of her actors, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid, and began to panic as she drew nearer to her idol. “I remember saying to Sam, ‘I can’t tell you how nervous I am!’” Asanta recalls to Vulture, laughing. “I think it was a bit disconcerting, because I was their director — I'm supposed to always have it together and have all the answers. Suddenly, it was them holding my hand, telling me, ‘It’s going to be okay!’”It’s been more than »


- Kyle Buchanan

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The 12 Most Rick James–y Moments in Rick James’s New Memoir, Glow

11 July 2014 11:10 AM, PDT

Earlier this week, Rick James posthumously published his memoir Glow, co-written with David Ritz. The book jumps around a lot, which James himself chalks up to his years of drug abuse, but an engrossing portrait of his life and career emerges in scattershot about his time coming up in a world in which black musicians could finally break through on the pop charts. Vulture flipped through chapters about his sex addiction, his chemical dependencies, and brushes with the law to collect 12 great info-nuggets about the man who brought the world “Superfreak.”1. He enlisted in the Navy but quickly fled from training camp.James joined up in the hopes of avoiding the drug-addled paths of those he grew up with in Buffalo, New York, but as soon as naval officers shaved his Afro, he knew it wasn't for him. He left the country, seeking shelter in Toronto and changing his name »


- Brennan Carley

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