THIS WEEK: May 22- May 28, 2011
ULYSSES TWEETS: In the world of literary fiction, there are books you read to enjoy, books you read to challenge yourself, and books you read to suffer through for bragging rights (a la Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick). For many readers, James Joyce’s Ulysses is of the latter category. But fear not aspiring literary elitists—there’s hope. For this year’s Bloomsday (an annual celebration of Joyce’s work), Ulysses is being recast in its entirety on—of all things—Twitter. That’s right, Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011 is having volunteers take one of 96 sections of the famous novel and fit it into four to six tweets (with, I imagine, some heavy editing). The literary experiment will begin at this account on June 16 at 8:00AM Dublin time. Personally, I cringe at these kinds of literary reinterpretations of texts. But I’m old, which is a fuddy-dud way of saying I’m out of touch.
BEYONCE: When it comes to Top 40 artists, originality is not something you hold them accountable for. Granted, a good number of musicians on pop radio stations are talented and innovative, but they’re the minority. And so when news hit that Beyonce’s performance during the 2011 Billboard Awards was startlingly similar to a 2010 show by Italian pop star Lorella Cuccarini, a number of people cried copycat. In the video below, which compares the two performances, you’ll note that there are similarities. But, to burst the naysayers’ bubble, Tribe Inc. Design, a popular entertainment and production design studio, were the masterminds behind both performances. Additionally, Beyonce admits that Cuccarini’s performance was the reason she hired Tribe Inc. Design in the first place. Who then should take the blame? That, my friends, is for you to decided.
50/50: When it comes to films about cancer, I usually pass. I suspect that many filmmakers like cancer stories because they’re guaranteed tearjerkers. In the end, we’re left with a film that, while emotionally affecting, is nevertheless a prime example of paint-by-numbers storytelling. There are exceptions, of course (with my favourite being the HBO telemovie, Wit), but they are few and far between. Still, I’m hoping that the film 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, will be one of those exceptions. Sure, we’ve seen tragicomedies before, but this one seems to balance the funny with the serious in a way that avoids the usual missteps of slapstick humour or maudlin sentiment. Check out the trailer below:
LIVING WITH LIONS: Last week, I talked about how Vancouver punk band Living With Lions’ latest album, Holy Shit, had been stirring up controversy because a) it was partially funded by the Canadian government; and b) the artwork in the liner notes depicted Jesus as a turd. Now comes news that the band is recalling all copies of Holy Shit and is returning the $13,248 grant they received to help produce the record. But fear not punk rawkers: Holy Shit will be returning to shelves in several weeks, only this time without government backing. Personally, I’m not sure if this is good news or bad news—the whole Jesus as a turd thing is beyond juvenile. But maybe I’m just not “punk” enough to get it.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Smooth Criminal
I’ll proudly admit that I prefer Alien Ant Farm’s cover of Smooth Criminal to the Michael Jackson original. But Alien Ant Farm’s position has now been usurped by these masterfully talented cellists:
The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items. If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here. If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below. Thank you for reading.