Open Post: Hosted By Erykah Badu Looking Like A Craft Project Gone Right!

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Only Erykah Badu could take the corpses of three dead poodles, the Jolly Green Giant’s cotton ball, a pimp’s winter coat, one of Prince’s old blouses, a lighting fixture from West Elm and one of her signature dildo hats (in a virginal shade of white), and turn it into a magnificent look that’d make Pope Francis say, “That bitch! I was going to wear that same look to Christmas Eve service this year!

Erykah Badu once again hosted BET’s Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas last night, and she commanded that carpet while looking like heaven’s #1 lady pimp. Erykah accessorized her cloud goddess from another planet look with the most elegant drool stream I’ve ever seen, and with painted fingers that make her look like she mutilated a snow man to make this outfit and also fingered C-3PO’s sloppy butt. And that stunning hat cage just isn’t for looks. It’s to protect her white uncut short dick hat. Erykah knows that there’s a lot of hard-up desperate hos in Las Vegas who would try to snatch it from her, because who wouldn’t want a white uncut short dick hat?

Here’s more of Erykah Badu in all her Baduizm, including pics of her wearing Carmen Sandiego’s red hat, if Carmen Sandiego went across the border and did a ton of non-FDA approved HGH (hat growth hormones).

Pics: Wenn.com

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What Is Project MK-Ultra? The Stranger Things Experiment Is All Too Real

Netflix officially welcomed fans back to the Upside Down on Friday with the launch of Stranger Things season two, and the show is creepier than ever before. After watching the first few episodes, you may have noticed the characters mentioning a project known as MK-Ultra. It’s the same project that is mentioned in season one (when Hopper and Joyce pay a visit to Terry Ives’s house) that Dr. Brenner had been involved in during the ’70s. Something you may not know is that MK-Ultra is a real government project that, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, began in 1953.

In a 2016 Rolling Stone interview with Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer, the brothers revealed to the magazine that they chose the real-life secret project to add another level of eeriness to the series. «We wanted the supernatural element to be grounded in science in some way,» Matt said in the interview. «As ridiculous as it is, the monster [in the alternate dimension] doesn’t come from a spiritual domain and it’s not connected to any religion. It made it scarier. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in aliens and alternate dimensions.»

The MK-Ultra project sounds like the stuff of fiction, but it’s all too real. MK-Ultra was created as part of the Cold War. At the time, the government believed that Russia was experimenting with mind control technology, and the US government wanted to keep pace. Disturbingly, many of the subjects of MK-Ultra had no idea that they were being experimented on. According to The Washington Times, the project began as a response to soldiers returning home with stories about the mind control techniques used by their «Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean captors.»

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Originally, the project’s primary goal was to manipulate prisoners of war in order to gain influence with country leaders. However, MK-Ultra expanded quickly into a vast series of subprojects. The Washington Times reported that the subjects of the study were «perception, behavioral analysis, religious cults, personality conditioning, microwaves, sensory deprivation, and hallucinogenic drugs.» In Stranger Things, Terry’s time as a subject involved the use of LSD and sensory deprivation tanks while she was pregnant. It’s implied that the effects of these experiments were passed on to her child, whom Terry believes Brenner took from her.

In reality, MK-Ultra began as a volunteer-based program, but the government went on to use test subjects who had no idea that they were being experimented on. Declassified CIA documents revealed that one branch of the project used a San Francisco brothel to test the effects of LSD on adults without their knowledge. The men who came to the brothel were served cocktails laced with acid, and the rooms featured two-way mirrors so that CIA operatives could watch the effects of the drug play out.

The information gained from these mind-altering experiments was used to hone surveillance techniques and increase the CIA’s understanding of how drugs like LSD could be used during interrogations. More than one unwitting participant ended up injured or dead before the program was shut down in 1965. Despite many of the documents related to MK-Ultra being destroyed by the government in the ’70s, reporter Seymour Hersh brought the program to the attention of the world in an investigative report published in The New York Times in 1974.

As you watch Stranger Things season two, remember that MK-Ultra is very real, and the full extent of the program’s repercussions on the public may never be known. See, sometimes real life can be even scarier than the monsters lurking in the Upside Down.

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Kanye West Is Working On A Super-Secret Project In Japan Right Now

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Kanye West has been laying a little lower than usual over the past couple months. He’s been MIA from Kim Kardashian’s social media feed (although that could be because there just isn’t enough room for him between the selfies and apologies). Page Six says Kanye is hiding out in Japan at the moment. I wish I could say he’s there doing car commercials, but it’s not nearly that exciting or glamorous.

Kanye is reportedly in Japan working on a secret “surprise project” with his former padawan-turned enemy-turned friend again Kid Cudi. Both Kanye and Kid Cudi took a mental health time-out around the same time last year. According to a source, they’re working together, just the two of them and an engineer, on a collaboration that they will most likely drop out of the blue. The source says:

“They’re going to drop some surprise project on everybody. They’re recording it now.” They’re keeping the lid so tight that “nobody knows what it is – or what it sounds like. There are no professionals in the room.”

Well, there is one professional in the room; professional egotist Kanye West.

If I had to guess what the title of this surprise collaboration is, my money is on something simple and subtle with an air of mystery, like Fuck You Tidal and Fuck Jay-Z or Oh Yeah? Well I’ve Got A New Best Friend Now. Or maybe Kanye will just make Kid Cudi legally change his name to Cud-E. Only time will tell!

But you do have to wonder why Kanye picked Japan. Is it because it was the farthest location from Calabasas without getting in a rocket and blasting off to Mars? Or maybe Kanye chose Japan because he had a score to settle. “Attention citizens of Japan. I am seeking the creature who goes by the name Godzilla. Show yourself! There is only one God, and his name is Kanye West!

Pic: Wenn.com

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Selena Gomez Has Joined The Cast Of Woody Allen’s Latest Project

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There are Hollywood types who would get the dry heaves and hiss “hard pass” if their agents were to suggest working on a project with Woody Allen. And then there are others, who are like “What repeat allegations of repulsive pedo behavior? Sign me up!” The list is shockingly long, and it’s got a couple new names to add to it.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Selena Gomez has signed on to Woody Allen’s next project for Amazon Studios. She joins a cast that also includes Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet (from Call Me by Your Name). Nothing else about the film is known, like if Woody Allen scrapped the usual contract and asked Selena to agree to the film by signing his favorite issue of V Magazine instead.

Woody’s latest movie with Amazon Studios, Wonder Wheel (aka the movie starring Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet), is set to premiere at the New York Film Festival in October. This next film will probably get underway after all of that.

Selena has said recently she can’t wait to be not famous. She picked the wrong project if privacy is what she’s after. You don’t exactly fly under the radar when you sign on to work with Hollywood’s creepy uncle. But I’m sure her publicist has already prepared for it. Like asking Kristen Stewart’s publicist for tips on navigating those awkward conversations about choosing to work with Woody. And maybe her publicist can hire a gag-suppression coach to help Selena through the awkward part of the press tour where Woody inevitably grosses everyone out by admitting he cast her after watching her on his second favorite Disney Channel show, Wizards of Waverly Place.

Pic: Wenn.com

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Leonardo DiCaprio Could Have Won Project Runway With This Creative Beach Towel Style

Leonardo DiCaprio is currently vacationing in the South of France with his pack of friends (and, of course, a group of gorgeous women) and was spotted hanging out on a yacht wearing a stunning beach towel design on Thursday. Seriously, he would have crushed it on Project Runway. Between this avant-garde design and that inventive plastic bag display, we might need to get ready for Leo’s Fashion Week debut.

The Oscar winner is in St.-Tropez to host a gala for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation; on Wednesday, he reunited with BFF Kate Winslet and their fellow Titanic costar Billy Zane to raise money for a young mother in the UK to pay for her cancer treatment. They also auctioned off a private dinner with the two of them! Will you be copying Leo’s styling hack this Summer?

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HBO Shelves Jon Stewart Project Because We Can’t Have Nice Things

Sad news for those looking forward to seeing current events reflected through the eyes of a New Jersey farmer: HBO has shelved its long-gestating Jon Stewart project. The deal, first announced in late 2015, was supposed to involve topical animated shorts developed by Stewart and running on HBO’s digital platforms including their GO and NOW apps (or GO/NOW, or GOW as I’ll continue to think of them collectively). It would have marked the first big step in Stewart’s post-The Daily Show career aside from his animal rescue endeavors.

But lest we all jump to blaming defenseless cows for this news, there is a more practical answer. Apparently the project was logistically difficult from a production and distribution standpoint, given the quick turnaround nature of the topical pieces. But all hope is not lost! Stewart signed a four-year deal with HBO, and they will continue to work toward future projects together.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to get our Stewart fix every time he pops up in Stephen Colbert’s mountain cabin. And HBO still has John Oliver around to cover the news on a last-weekly basis.

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Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’ Explores the Paucity of the American Dream in the Shadow of Disney World

In The Florida Project, Sean Baker orchestrates a truly sublime rug-pull. The film is the equivalent of one of those 3-D hidden images from the 90s, where a weird, transfixing picture is revealed after staring for a long time at a Technicolor pattern. Baker draws you in with an upbeat, well observed docu-style movie, but all the while another story is taking place in the background, hidden in the details, the language, the stolen moments. The force of this, the film’s real narrative, can hardly be overstated.

The Florida Project centres on Moonee, a six-year-old rag-tag child in a bright, bustling social housing unit in Florida; we follow her as she runs around with her friends, getting into trouble, charmingly begging for money. The room she lives in with her young, brash mother is in a complex painted in lurid Technicolor purple; the child flits about in this dirty sort of fairlyand, between the apartment block and the waffle place, the ice-cream shack, this whole area circumscribed by roaring roads. This is her world, and we follow the infant right up close, Sean Baker’s camera running around with her and her friends. Brooklynn Prince plays Moonee with more energy than technical skill: the child throbs with rebellion and ideas.

Even as the children get up to their jinks, Baker makes sure to drive home the theme of money, which is a factor in seemingly every single interaction: these characters are poor, and much of their existence boils down to scraping a dollar here and there, stealing something, in order to get by or afford themselves a treat. Moonee’s mother, Halley, tries selling bargain perfume to tourists in nearby resorts, or at one point sells passes to a nearby fairground that she has somehow got hold of. The young girl is a witness to this hand to mouth existence, and to the ways her mother’s desperation and miserable existence lead her to swear and act up. Bobby, the kind, tired superintendent of the housing project—played by Willem Dafoe with a light, easy weariness—often comes into conflict with Halley, who is always behind with her rent money or causing havoc in the neighbourhood.

The film tells this story while training its eye on other residents, painting a brilliant, involving picture of a community, of its needs and wants, and of the way in particular that the children perceive and emulate the interactions between adults. There is a dreaminess at play as well, as in scenes where the kids escape the urban sprawl to visit cows in a field startlingly nearby, or when herons wander onto Dafoe’s property and he cheerfully ushers them off. There’s a flavour of unreality alongside the movie’s starker moments. As in Tangerine, Baker’s approach is so organic and heartfelt, that you could be forgiven for doubting his intellect; but he is also, while doing this, intelligently building a narrative out of so many details, sculpting a wrenching story out of these blocks, which builds to a heartstopping conclusion in the film’s last twenty minutes.

The film adds up to a disquieting look at modern America: it’s no coincidence that the film is set in Florida, a highly political and ambiguous state that voted for Donald Trump last year. Baker shows the poverty here, the tensions and the inertia; he reveals, too, the paucity of the American dream, offering up the proximity of Disneyworld as a sort of fake distraction from violence and misery. The bedraggled fairytale land of which Moonee has made herself the princess, filmed in candy colours with sprightly energy, is a tearing reminder of the frailty of these aspirations. Moonee’s tragedy is that fairytales don’t come true.

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Shia LaBeouf’s Anti-Trump Project Is Alive And Moving South

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Serious artiste Shia LaBeouf’s latest artistic endeavor was dealt a serious blow this month when it was shut down at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY.

HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US is a “participatory performance artwork resisting the normalisation of division,” according to Shia’s latest press release. Despite the highfalutin description, it was basically a webcam that you were supposed to record yourself saying “he will not divide us” in front of to spurn anything Trump. The plan was to have it run the entire length of Trump’s presidency (so, four years if we’re lucky, eight years if the universe hates us, and endlessly if it becomes the dictatorship we’re all fearing). Unfortunately for Shia, it was given the boot after alt-right fuckfaces and assorted Neo-Nazis kept showing up to troll it and The Beouf himself.

Well, you can’t keep well-meaning pretentiousness down! WILLNOTDIVIDE.US will re-open at the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hey, at least everyone will be warm when Shia brawls with Pepe the Frog again.

Shia was arrested in late January for getting into an alleged physical altercation with an under-the-bridge dweller at the site. It wasn’t the only time Shia got punchy.

In the release, Shia and Co. took the Museum of the Moving Image to task for letting the exhibit get out of hand, blaming them for a lack of security as well as accusing them of exploiting the project for publicity. Well, it’s a museum, can you blame them? Do you know how hard it is to get people to go to museums nowadays? A Real Housewives Of… episode is on somewhere. Priorities!

From the outset, the museum failed to address our concerns about the misleading framing of our piece as a political rally, rather than as a participatory performance artwork resisting the normalisation of division.

In fact, the museum demonstrated a spectacular lack of judgement—and courtesy to us as artists—by neglecting to consult us when they staged a political rally at the site of our artwork on January 29, 2017.

On numerous occasions, we voiced serious concerns to the museum about hate speech occurring at the site of our project, and requested that the museum act responsibly in moderating this and providing the public a means of reporting such incidents. Our requests were not even acknowledged, let alone acted upon.

Shia might not have been the one writing their PR missive, because the author seems to be unaware that there were numerous scuffles at the site.

Nonetheless, there had been no incidents of physical violence at the site of our project that we are aware of, nor that we had been informed of at any stage by the museum.

Shia reportedly trying to throttle a dude with his own scarf and while raking dude’s face with his nails was just part of the show, I guess?

The artists also suspect that Trump might have something to do with the piece being shut down.

It is our understanding that the museum bowed to political pressure in ceasing their involvement with our project. We were only informed of the museum’s capitulation in an email from their attorney, Brendan O’Rourke—a lawyer who we note also represents the current president.

Hopefully, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US will be successful and tussle-free in its new home. Another hope is that it will only have to exist for a couple of more minutes, because this is all a bad dream I’m having and I’m going to wake up in Pantsuit Nation any time now. Please?

Pic: Splash

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