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Thumbnails 6/13/18

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert


"The Wizardry of Frank Oz: Why You Must See 'In & Of Itself'": My spoiler-free review published at Indie Outlook of Oz and Derek DelGaudio's extraordinary show running through August 19th at NYC's Daryl Roth Theatre.

“The rigorous specificity of DelGaudio’s illusions are not unlike the painstaking detail of Oz’s puppeteering, both of which are brought to life by the performer’s uncompromising honesty. It’s impossible to leave ‘In & Of Itself’ without forming your own thoughts about the illusory essence of identity. To me, Kermit’s ‘real self’ has no relation to the sanitized mascot favored by Disney and is more akin to George Bailey from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’—a good soul prone to frustration who is ultimately saved by the community he built. Bailey is a lot like my father, a man who had plans for his future that were disrupted by the cruel turns of life. He has spent the years following his retirement as a full-time caregiver for my mother stricken with Multiple Sclerosis, and this identity has begun to engulf the others that have defined his life: social worker, friend, brother, frustrated actor, part-time rapper, Abe Lincoln enthusiast, even husband. Illness can also overtake one’s identity, though my mother has never allowed herself to be defined by her disease. Apart from reawakening our childlike sense of wonder, the great gift of ‘In & Of Itself’ is in how it affirms that each of us is—and deserves to be seen as—more than just one thing. Frank Oz is not just a Muppeteer. He is an actor, a director, a humanist, a father, a husband, a rebel, one of our finest entertainers and, in my opinion, an artist of the highest order. ‘In & Of Itself’ may close in two months, but it will forever remain in my heart.”


"Elon Musk and the Unnerving Influence of Twitter's Power Users": Essential commentary from Felix Salmon at Wired.

“How did Twitter become the world’s most anarchic social media platform? Well, one good way of finding inequality is to look at the difference between mean and median. In an equal set, they’re the same; in an unequal world, they can be wildly different. (Ask yourself, for instance, what would happen to the mean and median net worth of the individuals in your office if Bill Gates were to walk through the door.) On Twitter, while the median number of followers per account has always been just 1, the mean has been steadily rising. It was 208 in 2012; it was 707 in 2016; and it’s probably much higher today. Having a million Twitter followers used to be an astonishing achievement; now someone like Katy Perry can add 10 million followers in less than a year. Similarly, Elon Musk has added 5 million new followers in the past six months. (Five years ago, by contrast, his follower count stood at a comparatively normal 225,000.) This isn’t a case of a rising tide lifting all boats: Twitter, as a platform, is growing notoriously slowly, with total monthly users growing only by about 11 percent in the past 3 years. The really amazing thing about Katy Perry’s 110 million Twitter followers is not its absolute magnitude as much as the fact that the site’s entire monthly active user base is only about three times that size.”


"Rooting for Female Anger": Amber Tamblyn chats with BuzzFeed's Alanna Bennett about the #TimesUp movement.

“‘I was able to just sit and be a real sounding board for him,’ she said, adding that Tarantino ‘understood in that moment how severe the accusations were’ but that he ‘was also really blindsided by it, by the scope of it.’ Tamblyn’s goal was to listen — but also to guide. ‘I more or less told him what I would tell any man, which is to own the way in which you were complicit in this,’ she said. ‘Own your complacency. Say it.’ As she wrote on Twitter shortly after their dinner, Tamblyn viewed it as a ‘come to Jesus conversation.’ The crux of her stance was the importance of facing one’s sins; of speaking out publicly as a crucial step in how the industry moves forward in dealing with toxicity and rape culture. So Tamblyn connected Tarantino with Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times journalists who reported out the Weinstein story. (Tarantino has confirmed this.) Tamblyn wanted Tarantino to face the woman who had spoken to Weinstein’s alleged victims while reporting the story. ‘I felt like that was a really important full circle that he needed to come to.’ As a result of her guidance, Tarantino issued a statement on Weinstein through Tamblyn’s social media. He also talked to Kantor for an interview in which he said, among other things, that when it came to Weinstein, he’d known ‘enough to do more than [he] did.’ ‘It was just sort of about helping him get there,’ Tamblyn said. ‘I feel like that would be the title of my memoir someday: Helping Them Get There.’ She paused, then added a subtitle: ‘The Story of Men.’”


"How an L.A. agency became a Hollywood go-to for connecting with multicultural audiences": According to Makeda Easter of The Los Angeles Times.

“In the past, Hollywood’s marketing efforts were mostly aimed at white audiences. But as the industry shifts to capitalize on an increasingly diverse nation, marketing tactics have also had to change. These efforts require more nuance and cultural sensitivity to successfully engage young people of color, women and LGBTQ communities. Cashmere’s ability to relate to diverse audiences comes from the demographic breakdown of its staff, which strongly skews young and multiethnic, said executive vice president Ryan Ford. Chung has also prioritized the importance of women, aligning with content and products that have women at the forefront. Half of Cashmere’s leadership roles are filled by women and several, including the vice president of client services and marketing and vice president of publicity, are staffed by women of color. ‘It’s what he built as a philosophy, we are who we market to,’ Ford said. The focus on millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, led the agency to take a social media-first mentality when designing marketing campaigns, allowing it to directly tap into millennial culture. From creating a buzz around Marvel’s game-changing black superhero movie, ‘Black Panther,’ to managing social media and public relations for ‘Grown-ish,’ the spinoff to the popular TV show ‘black-ish,’ Cashmere’s presence can be felt throughout the industry.”


"Old people can't open new tabs and it's fueling our descent into hell": A must-read article from The Outline's Kevin Munger.

“Video is the next frontier in disinformation propaganda, and the way that YouTube currently operates contributes to the problem. The Guardian published a small experiment demonstrating the polarizing capacity of YouTube: begin with a fresh browser history, search for a video about Trump or Clinton, and start watching the top recommended videos. You’ll quickly end up on the partisan fringe (and more often on the conservative fringe). Now imagine that instead of the dozens of videos purporting to prove that Obama is a Muslim but are actually just videos of old guys with webcams yelling at you, your grandparents found a realistic fake video of Obama saying that he couldn’t believe how easy it was to steal the Declaration of Independence and replace it with Sharia law. As Peele and Peretti's video shows, it may be a matter a months before this possibility becomes a reality. My personal fear is that we’ll see at least a few of these videos during the 2018 Congressional election; there are plenty of resources for debunking national-level fakes, but if a even small number doctored videos depicting candidates in key races fake-confessing to have orchestrated Pizzagate and/or be a Russian double-agent were spread via anonymous email campaigns 48 hours before Election Day, the balance of power in Washington could be manipulated before anyone knew what happened.”

Image of the Day

Amanda Mull of Racked makes a convincing case for why Dove's "body positivity" ad campaign "is a scam."

Video of the Day

A glorious tribute to the late master of animated cinema, Isao Takahata ("Grave of the Fireflies," "Only Yesterday"), created by Ebert Fellow Carlos Aguilar and Conor Holt of the One Week Only Podcast.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the former Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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