"The Bechdel Test is actually just a lever," says Michelle Dean, a pop culture writer currently at Flavorwire. "It isn't actually a critical test. It's a way of pointing out to people in a really short and pithy fashion exactly what's wrong with the output that's going on."
It's the third week of January. There are no songs about the third week of January. You know why? Because the third week of January sucks. If you're single, you've started worrying about Valentine's Day. You can't stay home because you do that every year and it means the Chardonnay spins and sexting ... More >>
In this week's music writing round-up, we share an account of a night with Dave Navarro, how the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs got free, and why hip-hop may be getting stagnant. If you see a piece of writing you'd think should be included, please let us know.
Following yesterday's hearing on California's Proposition 8 (whose decision will likely fall into the hands of swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy), another case is coming through the Supreme Court this morning. The justices are hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Mar ... More >>
The coffee set-up at this year's TED conference includes eight roasters and 38 baristas, and the coffee geeks at Sprudge say it might well be "the best multi-roaster pop-up in the world." The conference kicked off yesterday in Long Beach with a day of presentations from TED fellows (including one by ... More >>
Here's a round-up of music stories we're reading this week, clever girl.
For the last six months, the Sound of the City Supercomputer (a 1998 Compaq Presario) has been analyzing the structure and content of every pop news headline in the world in order to create a highly detailed predictive model of the music industry. While this project has important practical uses, suc ... More >>
Flaming Lips leader Wayne Coyne dreams weird and hard and big. What often starts of as a whimsical vision might just end up as a new world record (for the most live concerts in 24 hours) or a limited-edition vinyl release infused with the blood of other artists (as was the case for 2011's The Flamin ... More >>
We must admit: when KNPR, the NPR affiliate of Las Vegas, contacted us and asked, "Do you want to come on the air to talk about '37 Reasons Why An Unapologetically Judgmental New Yorkers Hates Las Vegas'?" we were a tad nervous. In fact, the polite, kind and good-natured people at KNPR's State of Ne ... More >>
Yesterday morning, a gunman entered a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. and opened fire on congregants, killing six and wounding three -- including a police officer who is in critical condition. Since the incident, additional details have emerged about the crime. Here's what we know so far...
1 On Fresh Air, Terry Gross talks about fermented foods with its greatest champion and fetishist, Sandor Katz, who has a new book. When he name checks some of his favorite beverages, Gross says, "I have no idea what you're talking about," and bursts out laughing. [NPR] 2 This cute and weirdly hear ... More >>
City officials are considering raising taxi fares by 17 percent, which has made cabbies very happy. Today, the New York Post reports thatcabbies would be made even happier with more money: They want a $1 surcharge during rush hour, up from the current $.50 cost. If a compromise can be reached, t ... More >>
Jason Crane is the creator, producer, distributor and host of The Jazz Session, an excellent in-depth interview show. This summer, Crane's taking the show on the road with the "Jazz or Bust" tour, a jaunt that, he told SOTC, was inspired by his wandering spirit, his desire to see jazz musicians in t ... More >>
NPR's Robert Krulwich examines some data that shows how fish populations have drastically changed in the past 100 years and wonders, do we eat animals into extinction? Or do we unconsciously adjust? Maybe, deep down, we sense that some foods are no longer plentiful so we make it the fashion to eat ... More >>
Over the last few days, Village Voice Media's music editors have been regaling you with stories of the best from Austin's South By Southwest Festival. But with the best must come the worst, and our critics unfortunately came across the following borefests, technical problems, and insults to their in ... More >>
The Song: Bon Iver, "Holocene" The Crimes: Shapelessness, "atmosphere," wondering if we're all just particles, man, invoking existential music-listening crises. Many of this year's most risible songs had clear reasons for being as irritating as they wereself-impressed "punk"dom, grating whi ... More >>
It's finally here! The 2011 Web Awards winners have been chosen. Check em out after the jump, and check back tomorrow for highlights from the awards show, including our video for the lifetime achievement award!
Barack and Michelle Obama spent part of their Saturday night handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on the northern portico of the White House. President Obama doesn't appear to be overwhelmingly in the Halloween spirit, but we're pretty sure he's wearing a studio-quality Green Lantern costume unde ... More >>
An upstate New York small business owner is trying to break into the breakfast market with his product, Muesli Fusion, now available in health-food stores in four states. [NPR] With its third location in Murray Hill, the Terroir wine bar mini-empire is announcing its plans for domination, wh ... More >>
The MeltIf you thought that fancy grilled cheese sandwiches were endemic only to urban coastal areas with a high concentration of facial hair and earnest whimsy, think again. In August, The Melt, a "fast casual restaurant" business will open the first of what it says will be 500 locations in ... More >>
P. 460: Carlo GambinoAn old Mafia file found in a black bag in the back of a New York City cab in the early '90s containing mug shots, criminal histories, lists of associates, kids' and wives' names, and the favorite hangouts of 843 Mafia members in the '50s and '60s -- a trove of fascinating ... More >>
Muffet/FlickrBummer.Well, here's a bit of news guaranteed to make shopping at the Park Slope Food Co-op a little less smug: turns out that even organic produce can contain commercial pesticides.
Not her?!The defiant lesbian blogger Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari (a.k.a. Amina Arraf or Amina Abdallah), who was reported kidnapped on her blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus" by a cousin this week, may not exist at all or otherwise has a lot of explaining to do. Her story circulated everywhere fro ... More >>
This year's collab-to-beat gets local
A few months ago it was reported that New York City's (already low) 50 percent return rate on census forms was brought down by "the hipster enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn," where only 30 percent filled out the forms that help make important funding decisions. "These young, recent graduates ... More >>
There's an excellent Fresh Air interview with Grant Achatz on the NPR website that's more than worth 43 minutes of your time, but those who would prefer to hear the chef talk in person about his new memoir, Life, on the Line, should get themselves over to the Mid-Manhattan library tomorrow ni ... More >>
It's Cinco de Mayo! We're going to go ahead and admit that we have no idea why Americans celebrate the holiday other than to over-indulge in margaritas, tacos, and cervezas. As it turns out, though, tonight's schedule of dance parties is more than willing to accommodate. If you want to get y ... More >>
English sparkling wines are getting so good that they might be served at the royal wedding, as they were at Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday party. [NY Times] Meanwhile, beer happy guests at the royal wedding won't be too pleased to learn that no suds will be served at the event. [NPR] A ... More >>
After last night's late budget compromise and extension, Planned Parenthood has been protected from any government spending cuts (so far). Yesterday, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein posted a graph from Planned Parenthood demonstrating what activities they perform (abortion is excluded from f ... More >>
Since becoming a pair with his company's $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington have overseen the cutting of hundreds of content providers on the parent company's side, with Armstrong presiding over the laying off of over 2,00 ... More >>
Day 2If the (little) reporting and (excessive) analysis surrounding Lara Logan's assault in Egypt have taught us anything, it's that most people are somewhat insensitive or otherwise unprepared and unable to talk about rape without offending, and the Internet can be an awful place. Also, expl ... More >>
• Bristol Palin, 20-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin and no longer teen mom (or Dancing With the Stars contender), has a memoir in the works. Of course she does! It's apparently 304 pages and currently titled "Untitled Bristol Palin Memoir," according to Amazon, where forums are busy discus ... More >>
Perhaps you've seen the tiny packets of intriguing substances with mysterious, floaty names like "Cloud 9," "Ivory Snow," and "Blue Silk," in your local convenience store or bodega or go-to gas station. Perhaps you've been curious; perhaps you've even purchased them and experienced what they ... More >>
viaWael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive in the Middle East and North Africa, was freed yesterday after being held by the Egyptian government for nearly two weeks. Today, he was back in Tahrir Square demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. An NPR reporter credits Ghonim wi ... More >>
James Blake has probably got Album Everyone Will Be Talking About This Week honors all sewn up for now, but roundabout next Tuesday a nation's fawning eyes will turn to PJ Harvey's fantastic Let England Shake, far from the screamiest entry in her 20-year catalog (!), but among the bleakest, h ... More >>
An investigation has been launched into what caused a mysterious greenish-yellow goo to fall from the skies in Snyder, New York. Turns out, it might be the poo of seagulls who dined on McDonald's fries. [Daily Mail] Chengdu province is hoping to capitalize on the popularity of spicy Sichuan ... More >>
Kinda makes you wonder what the Pedrito Martinez Group sounds like. Pic by Ben Jay.Last week's globalFEST 2011 blowout at Webster Hall packed 13 acts from Brazil, India, Cuba, Mali, Sengal, Hawaii, Honduras, France, Egypt, Colombia, Peru, the Congo, and New York City onto three stages, a stag ... More >>
Given our current climate of heated rhetoric, it's pretty much the perfect time for a new Gang of Four record, particularly one with song titles like "It Was Never Gonna Turn Out Too Good" and "You'll Never Pay for the Farm." So please welcome the excellently named Content, in stores next wee ... More >>
Not every great song this year was released by Katy Perry. From a snarling avant-electro NPR lecture to a haunted-house posse cut to a ludicrously profane viral sensation, here are 10 examples. "Teenage Dream" might still be better than all of these, though. Better get this started before I c ... More >>
winosandfoodies.com It's the end of the year, time for best-of roundups. Rather than create our own list of the top cookbooks of 2010, we took a look at everyone else's and determined which books overlapped the most. So without further ado, here are the 10 cookbooks you should have read by ... More >>
Some of us break up all willy-nilly, whenever we feel like it. But others among us are predictable. We like to break up at specific times of year. And we then, predictably, like to let Facebook know about that. Hence this fascinating "Peak Break-Up Times" calendar from David McCandless and Le ... More >>
• Happy Friday! The heroin den formerly located at 417 W. 43rd St., inside, as the New York Post puts it, a "Next to Normal-seeming ground-floor duplex," (wink, wink! groan, groan) has been busted and a stash worth $6.5 million has been seized. Note: when the neighbors move in and put black ... More >>
• Charlie Sheen's mystery "hooker" was actually a porn star, "Capri Anderson," who's "adamant she's not a working girl," according to TMZ, and was very upset to be identified as such. Her dad, of course, had no idea what she did for a living. [NYP]
The most and least corrupt nations have been "diagnosed" by Transparency International in their 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the "perceived levels of public sector corruption" in 178 countries around the world. Corruption levels go from "very clean" to "highly corrupt" an ... More >>
The 2009 tree, with ornaments.• Wyoming is having trouble finishing their ornaments for the White House Christmas tree this year. They have only 1,600 of the 5,000 they're responsible for. Apparently these ornaments have to be handmade, weatherproof, a foot tall, and in a Western theme. And ... More >>
Journalists discuss the dangers of reporting in Mexico
We're smack in the middle of apple season (and baking season). Here, NPR's Guy Raz gets together with cookbook author Nancy Baggett to find out which apples best retain their flavor and texture when baked. Although Granny Smiths are often cited as good baking apples, Raz and Bagett find that those ... More >>