It’s not often that the universe conspires to do us a favor but it must feel really sorry for us right now because it’s thrown us a tasty bone. I nearly plotzed (oh who am I kidding, I plotzed like a bitch) when I read in Entertainment Weekly that one of my favorite shows of all time, America’s Next Top Model was going to have a crossover episode with my absolute favorite show of all time RuPaul’s Drag Race in it’s upcoming Cycle 24. As we already know, Tyra Banksis back, and joining her will be Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker, Ashley Graham, and Drew Elliott. Also, since both ANTM and Drag Race are on Vh1 now, there will be a crossover episode starring Katya, Valentina and Manila Luzon.
If you’ve watched ANTM Original Recipe (let’s collectively pretend that that Rita Ora season never happened), you know that Tyra loves to torture her girls. Well, in one episode of the upcoming cycle, Tyra makes the models try to pose next to one of Ru’s queens.
“That’s a difficult model to be in a shot with.… Not all of my models prevailed. Valentina killed it. I’m sitting there editing film and I’m like, can I get a shot of my girls looking at least half as good as Valentina?”
I’m gonna guess no, Tyra, never in a million years. Here’s Manila, Katya and Valentina with Drew Elliot.
In addition to this stuntery, Tyra’s also going to be paying homage to Great Moments In ANTM History with a throwback episode featuring Eva “The Diva” Marcille (soon to be featured on the next season, sorry, cycle of The Real Housewives of Atlanta) who won cycle 3. That’s the eppy Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker will be appearing in.
“We were inspired by Throwback Thursday on Instagram and how popular that is, so we decided to dedicate an entire episode to Top Model throwback, and that’s something I want to continue on the show in the future: to always have an episode that’s all about the throwback,”
The stunts don’t end there, this cycle Tyra’s done away with age restrictions so there will be some older models in their 40s competing.
I have watched every single episode of this stupid show and it’s always a beautiful mess of tears, fights, bad wigs, diva behavior, back stabbing and filthy living conditions and Tyra is the mother of it all. The only thing that could make me happier about this reboot is if Tyra looked directly into the camera on the first episode and demanded “BRING. BACK. MY. JAYS!” and Jay Manuel and J. Alexander came strutting out from back stage. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.
College basketball returned last night with a couple of games on ESPN – one played in Germany on an Air Force base and one played in China. You may have heard some news this week from one of the team’s out there in the far east.
But I’m not here to talk about the games. The only reason college basketball even remotely matters in November is because we are blessed with the return of Bill Walton. From April-November he essentially disappears off the grid to do God knows what, but I can guess there’s marijuana involved. Then November rolls around and he’s back in our lives giving us nonstop entertainment for shitty late-night Pac-12 games.
So Bill has been in China this week, which you know has been a total adventure, and yesterday threw on his tie-dye and crushed some Tai Chi with the locals.
Then he made sure to apologize for the UCLA players’ actions
“On behalf of the human race”.
In China: Bill Walton, please. “I wanna apologize on behalf of the human race” for the wrong that #UCLA kids like LiAngelo Ball did?? No condoning their actions – or Bill’s grandstanding. pic.twitter.com/51HvMedGuY
Dave Grohl is the Best Dave in celebritydom, beating out Dave Franco, Dave Letterman, Dave Bautista, and Dave Matthews. He’s trolled the Westboro Baptist Church:
He Rickrolled fans live on stage:
He brought his 8-year-old daughter Harper onstage to play drums:
And now? Now Dave Grohl has gifted us with the best impression of Christopher Walken I’ve ever heard in my life. It isn’t exaggerated or overly practiced. It just IS. I’ll let Dave and drummer Taylor Hawkins tell the story.
And so, in closing, I nominate Dave Grohl as an honorary Chris and eligible for the ongoing battle of Best Chris.
Man, what a tough way to finish out a career for the fastest man we’ve ever seen. Listen, he’s still the greatest of all time, he’s still probably the fastest person who’s ever lived, but to pull up in your last race ever because of a hammy is ROUGH.
Nobody will ever be as electric (no pun intended) as Usain Bolt was. For 3 Olympics in a row, when that man stepped up to the line for the 100 meters, it was must-see TV. He was so cocky and so entertaining and there will never be anybody like him again.
Usain Bolt was unable to finish his final career race as he pulled up with an apparent leg injury during the men's 4x100m relay. pic.twitter.com/qhfk2MqOmc
Our guy Darren Rovell was at it again Tuesday night in Hartford where he took part in a Dunkin Donuts between innings costume race. I know, so Rovellian. But this is why I like Rovell. He’s really into this stuff and gives 110% to bring you legit content. He doesn’t half-ass a donut vs. coffee race. The guy doesn’t want second place.
Need proof? In his own words:
Fun night in the donut costume at @hartfordyardgoats. Took a dive across the line to win. Scraped my knee and needed help getting up! #Oldman
Hate Rovell all you want because it’s the cool thing to do on Twitter. Guy is committed to his craft. I know he’s still a little mad at me for reporting what was in his souvenir bag on Radio Row at the Super Bowl, but that won’t stop me from complimenting the guy. We’ll work it out.
Kendrick Lamar debuted the dangerously sexy music video for his popular single featuring Rihanna, «Loyalty.» The cinematic video shows the talented pair being daredevils as they commit crimes, crash a newly stolen car, and hang out atop skyscrapers. One particularly heart-racing shot shows Kendrick dangling Rihanna off a skyscraper — to which we say, «Honestly, how dare you? She is a national treasure!» By the end of the Bonnie and Clyde-style video, they both gradually sink into cement, so, there’s that. Watch the thrilling video in its entirety above.
To say David Ayer’s upcoming Netflix movie is ambitious would be an understatement. Bright, which won’t hit the streaming network until Dec. 22, is a fantasy thriller with the grit of a rated-R cop movie like Ayer’s End of Watch, only interwoven with themes pulled straight out of Lord of the Rings. The film takes place in a world where creatures like orcs and elves live and work side by side with humans, which results in a rigid hierarchy forming among the races: chic and beautiful elves at the top, humans somewhere in the middle, and orcs at the bottom.
Will Smith stars as LAPD police officer Daryl Ward, a human, who finds his work life suddenly much more complicated when he’s partnered with «diversity hire» Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), an orc. Ward is openly angry about Jakoby’s arrival at first, a situation that Smith found fascinating as a black man.
«It’s such a bizarre world. Joel [Edgerton] plays the first orc on the LAPD. It felt really great to be an African American police officer and have them find somebody else [for me to] be racist against,» he joked during a panel for Bright at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. «You’re never on that side of racism when you’re black. Like, ‘Listen, man, I don’t want no orcs in my car!'»
Tackling race in film is nothing new, but having those themes featured so prominently in a fantasy film (which reportedly cost Netflix $ 100 million) is a risk, one that both Ayer and the cast acknowledged the difficulties of navigating. Ayer explained that he hopes by showcasing racism in Bright‘s fantastical universe, it might open a few minds to real-life issues, and Smith noted that the director wasn’t «delicate» about examining the harsh realities of the movie’s themes.
«It’s great to have this size of a spectacular world, but then to really narrow the story down to something as simple and human as a foolish prejudice is really beautiful,» Smith said. «It’s such a beautiful snapshot of our world without hammering on it too much. To see all of the layers in people and all of the different issues . . . at the end of the day everyone is really just trying to have a good life.»
Formula E, officially the FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. Cars can go from 0-62 in just 2.9 seconds and are all powered by lithium ion batteries (which fully charge in just 50 minutes). The season consists of 12 races on 5 continents in some of the coolest cities on the planet; Paris, Hong Kong, Marrakesh, and Buenos Aires. This weekend, the first international race will take place in New York City, which will also be the first zero-emission ePrx in the history of the Championship.
DHL, the world’s leading logistics company and the Logistics Partner of Formula E, delivered all 40 fully-electric racing cars taking part in the Championship, along with lithium-ion batteries, charging stations, garage equipment and track infrastructure for the 10 teams that will compete in New York City this weekend. The event in Brooklyn marks the second to last stop of the 2016/17 season which concludes in Montreal, Canada, in late July.
In preparation of the race, yesterday DHL Express CEO Ken Allen rang the closing bell at the NYSE alongside Formula E leadership.
As a frontrunner in developing and providing sustainable logistics solutions, DHL recognizes the global fully-electric single-seater racing series as an excellent platform to help drive the continued development of e-mobility.
“With the FIA Formula E Championship, DHL, a pioneer in green logistics, is working alongside a pacesetter in clean auto racing with a vision to advance automotive technology at large. Handling the logistics for this championship presents a great opportunity to showcase how the transport of all the equipment needed to stage this great event can be done while minimizing the carbon footprint of the entire operation,” said Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express. “Furthermore, Formula E provides a platform to engage with young urban audiences on sustainability which is the core of our marketing partnership with Formula E.”
Throughout the third season, DHL is transporting more than 450 tons of equipment, covering more than 50,000 kilometers as the Championship travels to nine countries on five continents. DHL was the first company in the transportation industry to set a target to improve its carbon efficiency by 30% by the year 2020 from its benchmark 2007 level. DHL achieved this goal in 2016, three years ahead of its original target date
The cargo for the Qualcomm New York City ePrix traveled to the U.S. from Europe via ocean freight which produces 100 times less CO2 emissions than transporting the same cargo via air. DHL has also used road and rail transport modes when possible throughout this and previous seasons.
Formula E has spent four years trying to find a location in NYC to host this race. There will be 10 teams and 20 drivers competing on a 1.95 kilometer circuit with 10 turns. The races will take place on Saturday and Sunday in the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn. The race is sold out, but can be watched via Fox on FS2.
Hay squirrelfriends! It’s finally time to crown America’s Next Drag Superstar, and Season 9 has been a real doozy, with a surprise four-queen finale that seems as tight as any Drag Race has ever been. Will it be Sasha Velour, the intellectual art diva? Peppermint, the congenial and heartfelt beauty? Shea Coulee, the…
We are reaching the end of the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and much has changed since the early days of zero budget, questionable music choices and Vaseline on the camera lens. Now, the reality TV series to find America’s Next Drag Superstar is an Emmy winner, with the most recent season changing broadcasters, moving from the LGBTQ cable network Logo to the more mainstream VH1. Ratings are at an all-time high and the show has never been more visible in the wider (straighter) public consciousness: RuPaul just made the cover of Entertainment Weekly and was part of the Hollywood Reporter‘s reality TV Emmys round-table, alongside Leah Remini and Kris Jenner, not to forget the guest judge appearance in the season’s premiere of a certain Lady Gaga.
The season finale will, for the first time, decide between four queens instead of three, as RuPaul could not bring himself to eliminate anyone in the penultimate episode. This moment of generosity felt organic — this year’s top four are uniformly strong and cover a fascinating range in the drag world — but also highlighted a problem many dedicated fans had with this season: For some, season 9 was just too damn nice. Everyone apologized for shade gone wrong, tight friendships were formed and never challenged, and even the reads felt softened. As one queen joked during one of the season’s many emotional moments, «It is RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!» Many fans felt this betrayed the appeal of the show, where shade is thrown left and right and the competitive wit forms a backbone of drag’s style, as featured in Paris is Burning.
The best of Drag Race can be found in its full-throated embrace of theatricality. You can’t make a show about drag with Kardashian challenges and constant references to yanking your dick backwards with duct-tape and not be wholly aware of that. One thing that the show does better than anything else in the reality genre right now is use its own artifice to further its aims. This is a reality TV show that never forgets it’s a reality TV show. The behind the scenes crew are referenced frequently, and in one episode included in a main challenge; RuPaul’s constant name dropping of sponsored content, episode hashtags and his own music (now available on iTunes) offer one of the more daring drinking games in contemporary pop culture; and the interludes to Untucked, the aftershow that shows the behind the scenes gossip between the queens during the main challenges, show the cameras moving and crew prepping for filming. It’s easy to spot the strings pulling the narratives in place, and audiences embrace the facade, because that’s what drag is, as well as reality TV. Susan Sontag’s pioneering essay on the aesthetics of camp noted how it was a way of consuming pop culture «in quotation marks». Here, Drag Race is pop culture in a hashtag.
All of that can create thrilling TV — like the glorious read of Serena Cha Cha in season 5’s Untucked or Alaska’s meltdown in All-Stars season 2. But now, we’re 9 seasons in, and every queen on that show has seen those episodes. They know how the game works and are less willing to let the veil slip. With the inherent performativity of drag in the context of this show comes the weight of expectation. Much of this season has focused on issues affecting the LGBTQ world — Charlie Hides breaking down in tears recounting the loss of a number of friends during the AIDS crisis, Sasha Velour talking about eating disorders, Peppermint’s difficulties while travelling to Russia as a trans woman — and emphasised the show’s standing as a pillar of the community. Alongside that is the show’s awareness of how it can and must appeal to younger viewers as a potential lifeline. The importance of this cannot be downplayed. Representation matters, now more than ever in an America living under the rule of insidious homophobia and transphobia, and that’s a reality that weighs heavily on the bejewelled wig of every queen this season. The necessity to harbour a safe and open discourse has come before some catty jokes.
Reality infringes on the filming of the show in several ways (the queens are mostly cut off from the world during production), but when the material comes to air, there’s a whole new level of the messiness of the real world to deal with. Social media plays a major part in the show, which leverages that online buzz to great effect and brings a potent brand of youthful enthusiasm to the table. Like any fandom, there are good things and bad, but there’s always been something sad about a show that preaches acceptance and community having a fanbase so toxic. Many queens have talked about receiving harassment and death threats from over-zealous fans because of a perceived slight or incident on the show that put them in a bad light. The artifice of the show is evident but the goings-on are still real enough for some to take it very personally. Any queen with the villain narrative, however weak — Phi Phi O’Hara, Darienne Lake, Roxxxy Andrews — has admitted to receiving countless death threats, particularly if they are seen as slighting a fan favourite. This season, both Alexis Michelle and Nina Bonina Brown received such a barrage of abuse that they were forced to briefly lock down their social media accounts. Their crime: Lasting longer on the show than season stand-out Valentina. This is an issue that came up in the season reunion, with both Alexis and Shea Coulee calling Valentina out for her seeming refusal to call her fans off, and it’s a bigger issue the show has tried to deal with. That’s easier said than done, and hardly helped when the site in question is more concerned with the shape of a user’s profile pic than whether or not it contains Nazi material. All a queen can do is play the positive game and hope they don’t cross the one contestant elevated to deity by the fans.
There have been moments that echoed back to the shade of episodes past. Both Alexis Michelle and Eureka had the burgeoning of villain narratives, but Eureka’s was hampered by an early exit, pre-empted by apologies to her fellow queens, while Alexis was too painfully self-aware of her own insecurities to come across as a fun antagonist. Both she and Nina Bonina Brown had evident issues with self-esteem and anxieties, with the latter open in interviews about her struggle with depression. The show, as empathetic and carefully controlled as it is, still stumbled in depicting Nina’s issues in a manner that fully conveyed their seriousness and didn’t just paint her as a Debbie Downer. The other queens tried to tread carefully, but as humans are prone to doing, sometimes patience wears thin, and so the feud story is formed. The natural inclination of the reality TV mould is to push such elements into an easily categorised narrative: Alexis the «bitch», Eureka the Hater, Nina the misery guts. Combine that difficulty with a group of queens who can’t drop the knowledge that they’re being filmed for a million viewers and the tone feels very different from seasons past.
Perhaps that’s why this has felt so calm and friendly and more muted compared to the show in its prime. That’s not to say it’s been a bad season: The queens have been strong, the challenges fun, some of the lip-syncs legendary, and the emotions very real. Any of the four queens in the final would make a worthy winner of the crown (although my money is on Sasha). During the reunion, the tension amongst certain queens was palpable, and it was hard to deny the effect severe public scrutiny and unreachable expectations had on them. For 40 minutes, the veil dropped. There’s no misery or shame in RuPaul’s Drag Race embracing such a practiced form of niceness, but one can’t help but feel that it didn’t have much of a choice either.