The Best Performance Briefs to Beat the Heat This Summer

A good pair of performance briefs should go unnoticed. That’s the ironic, telltale sign of a stellar piece of apparel: You forget you’re wearing it. Meanwhile, a bad pair will scrunch, chafe, and require some awkward lunging or a not-so-discrete hand down your pants to adjust.


We Found the World’s Most Comfortable Underwear

To keep your most sensitive area as dry and comfortable as possible, we’ve tested some of the top options on the market. Here are the best six performance briefs to wear whether you’re training or just going about your everyday life. They’ll withstand stifling heat and swampy humidity without breaking a sweat—even if you do.

1. icebreaker Cool-Lite Anatomica Zone Boxers

As the name suggests, icebreaker wants to keep you cool. To do so, they use a propriety blend of two materials in their boxers, merino wool and TENCEL. Combined with an eyelet for ventilation, flatlock seams that prevent chafing, and odor-resistant fabrics, these briefs beat the heat and any accompanying smells.

[$ 55; icebreaker.com]

 

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2. lululemon License to Train Boxer

Even during a workout of squat cleans and handstand walks, these boxers stayed in place. The four-way stretch was forgiving enough to accommodate movements, while light compression provided targeted support. They’re also ultra-lightweight, so you’ll barely notice them underneath your shorts.

[$ 38; lululemon.com]

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3. Reebok Performance Briefs

These are a fantastic low-cost option. The material isn’t as advanced as the others, but it still does everything you’d like it to do—mainly, hug your thighs while not being too constricting. In my experience, the waist runs a little large, so consider ordering a size down to get a comfortably snug fit.

[3 pack for $ 30; reebok.com]

 

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4. Ten Thousand Training Boxer

Ten Thousand is a New York City-based startup. At its inception, the team (admirably) chose to specialize in just a few items of workout apparel—emphasizing quality. And let us tell you: They’re doing a damn good job. This training boxer wicks away sweat and inhibits the growth of bacteria. Plus, it comes with a side pocket and a waistband that you’ll barely notice.

[$ 32; tenthousand.cc]

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5. Under Armour RUSH Compression

Strap your spacesuit on, because we’re going to the future. In addition to all the features you’d expect from performance underwear, these boast Under Armour’s new RUSH technology. It uses mineral-infused fabric to absorb energy created by your body during workout, then reflects that energy back into your muscles. For more info, check out this video.

[$ 50; underarmour.com]

 

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6. 185 ROCK‘N‘WOOL Boxer by Ortovox

If you like to take your workouts into the great outdoors, rather than the CrossFit box, these are the boxers for you. Made from ultra-thin wool, they’re specifically designed for the temperature fluctuations that come with sweating outdoors. The company also sources from ethically and ecologically sound farmers

[$ 50; ortovox.com]

 

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Drake’s Emotional Performance of ”O Canada” at the NBA Finals Is a Slam Dunk

DrakeDrake offered up quite the rendition of “O Canada” during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and let’s just say it was every bit sweeter than a spoonful of maple syrup.
Cameras…


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Mystikal Returns to Stage For 1st Big Performance Since Release From Prison

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Let’s not compare Ariana Grande’s Coachella performance to Beyoncé’s

Last year on the Coachella stage, Beyoncé, the first woman of color to headline the iconic festival, gave a two-hour performance of a lifetime, complete with a marching band and a Destiny’s Child reunion. It was so incredible, there’s even going to be a Netflix documentary about it.


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The Best Performance Socks for Running, Golfing, and Everything in Between

Socks are often an afterthought. But if you think of the foot as one of the most important parts of the human body—it supports your full weight, keeps you upright, and helps you twist, turn, walk, run, jump, and more—socks become a hell of a lot more important, huh? And the more time you spend on the court (or trails or treadmill), the more you realize that skimping on footwear can be a true detriment to performance, increasing your risk of blisters, pain, and even injury. Plus, no one wants to strip off wet, soggy socks post-workout. You need performance socks.


Hit the Gym in the Best New Training Gear of 2019 (So Far)

Fortunately, dressing your dogs doesn’t have to mean scouring department store shelves for the latest sport offerings . There are plenty of high-end brands with affordable options you can shop online. Here are seven of the best performance socks for the most common sports and disciplines. Put your feet first so you can focus on the game.

Best Coolers

1. Balega Blister Resist No Show Running Socks

Best for: running

Runners know cotton socks have no place in a training routine. And once you become a sock snob—i.e. you’ve slipped on Balega’s performance socks—there’s no going back.  Most of their options are made with comfortable mohair fiber, have moisture-wicking tech against blisters, and varying amounts of padding. We like Blister Resist, the company’s anti-blister line, which lives up to its name—even in soaking-wet marathons.

[$ 13; balega.com

Balega

2. Bombas Performance Golf Ankle Sock

Best for: golf

Bombas’ new line of golf socks puts comfort first (think: extra padding at the arch) so you won’t be limping around after a day on the links. The under-toe area—where your dogs tend to sweat and overheat the most (if you use Athlete’s Foot spray, you’re familiar)—is built with mesh, too, to keep you cool and (hopefully) dry, important for those balmy days on the course.

[$ 16; bombas.com]

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3. Pedestal 4.0 weightlifting socks

Best for: weightlifting

Bad socks slip and slide, show stains, wind up smelling, and hole up after an unacceptably low amount of wear. Pedestal’s socks? They’re designed to be worn sans shoes. They’ve got an open toe box, which means you’ve got room to spread out for stability, plus they’re sticky enough to keep you rooted in your stance during heavy lifts. Better yet, thanks to an antimicrobial silver treatment, you only have to wash them every two to three workouts (and the treatment works against bacteria for at least 50 washes). These bad boys are known to sell out, so invest ASAP.

[$ 29.99; pedestalfootwear.com]

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4. Zensah Match Point Tennis Socks

Best for: tennis

Ask a tennis player: The quick stops and starts, lateral movements, and sprint work of the sport call for a special kind of sock—namely one that can stand up to serious sweat and protect your feet from the demand of fast movements. Zensah’s Match Point Tennis Socks are padded where you need shock absorption (the heel and forefront) but tight at the top—a practical requirement for play. You’ll minimize slipping and impact and maximize support at your ankle. Don’t want to go all white? They’ve got a sleek black and neon yellow colorway as well.

[$ 15.99; zensah.com]

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5. Swiftwick Aspire Zero cycling socks

Best for: cycling

Cyclists have never gone wrong with Swiftwick’s favorite compression sock, the Aspire. It’s latest version, Zero, a no-show option that sits just above your shoe (so no blisters), delivers what you’ve always loved: just-tight-enough compression that works to alleviate the fatigue of endurance work. They’re especially great on hot days when you don’t want to rock a calf sock.

[$ 13.99; swiftwick.com]

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6. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Print Crew hiking socks

Best for: hiking

Thru-hikers and day-trippers alike know that wool isn’t just a winter thing when it comes to socks—and that, with a little bit of foresight and research, packing an extra pair of socks for a day in the mountains isn’t always necessary. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Print Crew socks are crafted with merino wool, a strong, stink-free  fabric that naturally heats and cools, meaning it stands up to finicky spring weather and long days of work. It’s versatile enough to work with whatever trail shoe you’ve got and the crew length pairs with low trail boots and sneakers alike, protecting your lower legs from sticks and branches. Trippy new patterns help you stand out (in a good way), too.

[$ 22.95; smartwool.com]

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7. RDX MMA Grip Socks

Best for: wrestling/MMA

These neoprene socks are part clothes for your feet, part brace support, part performance must. In short, they let you take your footwork to new heights. The underfoot grips for the mat prevent slips and maximize traction, lessening the likelihood of twisted ankles or injured tendons.

[$ 23.99; rdxsports.com]

RDX Sports

The post The Best Performance Socks for Running, Golfing, and Everything in Between appeared first on Men's Journal.

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Medea, a Performance History – Fiona Macintosh, Claire Kenward & Tom Wrobel

Fiona Macintosh, Claire Kenward & Tom Wrobel - Medea, a Performance History  artwork

Medea, a Performance History

Fiona Macintosh, Claire Kenward & Tom Wrobel

Genre: Performing Arts

Publish Date: June 29, 2016

Publisher: APGRD, University of Oxford

Seller: APGRD


Medea, a performance history is a multimedia/interactive guide to the production history of Euripides’ Medea – an ancient Greek tragedy about a mother who, betrayed by her husband, exacts revenge by killing her children. First performed nearly 2,500 years ago, and continually reinvented since, Medea remains the most controversial yet alluring female role in the history of theatre worldwide.    This multimedia/interactive ebook draws on a unique collection of archival material and research at the APGRD (Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama) at the University of Oxford and uses images, film, unique interviews and digital objects to tell the story of a play that has inspired countless interpretations, onstage and onscreen, in dance, drama and opera across the globe from antiquity to the present.

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Al Sharpton Calls Out Travis Scott For Upcoming Super Bowl Performance

Al Sharpton Calls Out Travis Scott For Upcoming Super Bowl Performance

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Travis Scott might seriously want to reconsider his upcoming participation in this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. With Meek Mill and Jay-Z reportedly not fond of the idea, Al Sharpton is the latest big name calling out the Astroworld rapper.

Rev Al didn’t bite his tongue and pretty much called Scott a hypocrite for allegedly accepting the gig while speaking with TMZ.

“I think anyone that goes into the halftime show is in effect directly violating those that want to raise the question that the NFL should come to terms with what they have done and continue to do to Colin Kaepernick and those that protest on criminal justice issues.”

“You can’t tell people to stand for those that take a knee and don’t go to the games and then say ‘but somebody ought to perform there and entertain. You’re drawing TV viewers, you’re bringing supporters, and I think that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t help people market something and then turn around and say you agree with the people protesting.”

 “I think he should do what a lot of other major artists have done: say ‘I’m not going to participate.’ You can’t fight against Jim Crow and then go sit in the back of the bus.

Well, tell him how you really feel Rev.

The Super Bowl halftime show is currently having issues locking down talent. Maroon 5 is reportedly locked in but have not been confirmed yet, Cardi B who is featured on a song with the band was rumored to be joining them, but that looks like it won’t be the case. It’s quite clear nobody wants Scott to do the show, and it would entirely put a stain on what was a stellar year for the rapper.

You can see Sharpton eloquently slam Travis in the clip below.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

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Ariana Grande Channels The First Wives Club for First Live “Thank U, Next” Performance

Ariana GrandeTo all other movies: thank you, next.
Ariana Grande is heading to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday and the show’s host Ellen DeGeneres and Grande both shared snippets of the…


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Offset Shares Nude Photo of Cardi B Before Surprise Performance at Madison Square Garden

Cardi B, OffsetCardi B joined husband Offset on stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.
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Kodak Black Turning Down Tons of Performance Offers to Focus on Recording

Kodak Black is free to keep building up his hip-hop empire now that he’s out of jail, but the dude’s turning down tons of cash to focus on something more important … TMZ has learned. Sources close to the “Roll in Peace” rapper tell us KB has become a…

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‘America’s Got Talent’ Contestant Brian King Joseph Shocks Judges With Violin Performance, Despite Facing Rare Nerve Disease

“America’s Got Talent” contestant Brian King Joseph is set to perform with his violin on tonight’s episode of the hit NBC show, and his story will bring you to tears. 


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Robbie Williams Gives The Middle Finger During World Cup Performance

Robbie Williams gave a big middle finger to the TV cameras while performing a medley of his hits during the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow on Thursday. Surprised fans took to Twitter to share their reactions following the British pop star’s obscene gesture.


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Performance Driven: The Best Highlights From Apple’s WWDC 2018 Event

Apple CEO Tim Cook Kicks Off Worldwide Developers Conference

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Today (June 4), led by Tim Cook, Apple held their annual WWDC event, and the focus was entirely on improving the performance of their products with iOS 12, watchOS 5, macOS Mojave and Apple TV. We break down the best highlights from the highlights from the event. 

iOS 12

Apple’s software VP, Craig Federighi made it entirely clear to the attendees in the room that “for iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance.” Being that recent iOS updates have been very buggy lately this focus is warranted. There are definitely some new additions, changes, and improvements coming to your iPhone, IPads worth looking forward too.

Screen Time

Google introduced its digital well-being dashboard called Android P which wants to help users limit their phone use. Apple is aiming for the same with its new Screen Time feature which breaks down exactly how much you are using your iPhone and individual apps. Like Android P it will allow you to set a time limit for each app which will warn you when you are about hit your time limit and hit you with a “time’s up” message once the timer runs out.

Group FaceTime

If you always wanted to be able to facetime more than just one friend at one time the good folks at Apple have heard your cry. Thanks to iOS 12, you can now start a Facetime session that will feature up to 32 people. Now why you would want to be a part of a group text but with video is beyond us. We can see this feature being beneficial for conference calls maybe.

Photos

Apple is taking another page out of Google’s book with how iOS 12 will handle and store your photos. iOS 12 will now offer search suggestions, filter and effect suggestions as well as suggesting which friends to share the photo with. Honestly, something you similarly experience if you utilize Google Photo’s app BUT if you don’t want to download a Google on your iPhone (there are people like this) this update is for you.

Siri Gets An Upgrade

Apple is allowing third-party developers more integration with Siri giving them the ability to create shortcuts for the favorite digital assistant.

Apple WWDC 2018 Event

Source: Apple / apple

CONTINUED

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty

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Lil Wayne Issues An Apology to His Fans For Backing Out of His Rolling Loud Performance

Source: Lil’ Wayne performs during the ‘Pink Friday Tour’ at the James L. Knight Center Miami, Florida – 24.07.12 Where: United States When: 24 Jul 2012 Credit: Aaron Gilbert/ WENN

This past Sunday night (May 13) Lil Wayne was scheduled to take the stage as the headliner for the Rolling Loud festival but much to the dismay of his fans, Weezy was a no show.

Just a few days before Weezy was spotted turning up at LIV with his former “daddy,” Birdman as they continue to repair their personal relationship while trying to get their business end straight.

Instagram Photo

Knowing he’d disappointed a gang of Weezy loyalists, the pint sized rapper took to Twitter to apologize to his fan base who’d attended the event to see his dreds whip around on stage only to go home empty handed.

Well at least he apologized for missing out. These days fans are putting hands on rappers crews for backing out of their contractual duties.

The festival also decided to put out a statement on the situation and reminded fans that even without Wayne, they have a pretty deep lineup scheduled.

Last night, Lil Wayne fell unexpectedly ill ahead of his set time and had to cancel his appearance at Rolling Loud Miami. We apologize to the fans and hope that some of the special guest appearances throughout the weekend, such as Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Diddy, A$ AP Rocky, hometown hero DJ Khaled, the Waffle House Hero, and the two baristas fired by Duke made for an enjoyable experience. We have a longstanding and healthy partnership with Lil Wayne and his team, and look forward to continuing to work with him and having him on a Rolling Loud stage in the near future.

But for anyone hoping to catch a Weezy show they should be looking forward to Lil Weezyana Fest this summer in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Wayne’s fan favorite album, Tha Carter III.

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Carrie Underwood Returns To The Spotlight With Showstopping 2018 ACMs Performance

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Beyoncé Makes Sizzling Stage Comeback With Coachella 2018 Performance

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Beyonce Gearing Up for ‘Huge’ Coachella Performance with 11-Hour Rehearsal Days

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Rick Ross Says ‘Free Meek Mill’ in First Performance Since Hospitalization

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Justin Timberlake Super Bowl Performance Sneak Peek (SPOILER ALERT)

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Mariah Carey’s Redemption Performance on ABC’s ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’

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Janet Jackson Surprises Concert Fans With Missy Elliott Performance!

Janet Jackson ended her “State of the World” tour on a high note on Sunday night in Atlanta with a surprise appearance from Missy Elliott! The Grammy winners drew cheers and screams from the sold-out crowd as they took the stage together to perform their song “Burn It Up.” The 51-year-old songstress had been in top form throughout her latest 56-city tour after giving birth to son Eissa in January.


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Jessie James Decker’s Kids Crash Her Performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Adorable Eric & Jessie Season Finale

Jessie James Decker, InstagramThat’s all, folks!
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Watch Tank And The Bangas’ Joyful Performance At The Pickathon Music Festival

Tank and the Bangas perform on the Woods stage

Fresh on the heels of winning the NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest, the seven-piece group wowed the Oregon festival crowd with a mix of funk, hip-hop, rock and jazz.

(Image credit: Todd Cooper)


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Jason Aldean’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ Performance on ‘SNL’ Released to Benefit Vegas Shooting Victms

Jason Aldean’s using his “Saturday Night Live” opener after the deadly Las Vegas shooting — a powerful cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” — to raise money for the victims … TMZ has learned. The track’s available Friday across many digital…

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Jason Aldean Speaks About Las Vegas Shooting, Covers Tom Petty During Surprise Saturday Night Live Performance

Jason AldeanJason Aldean won’t back down.
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Jay-Z’s ‘SNL’ Performance As Political Protest And Personal Redemption

The personal was political for Jay-Z on Saturday Night Live.

From showing solidarity with Colin Kaepernick to apologizing for his unfaithfulness at home, the rapper kept his Saturday Night appearance all the way live.

(Image credit: Hulu/screenshot)


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The Unsettling Performance That Showed the World Through AI’s Eyes

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‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’: Andy Serkis Shares His Performance Capture Acting Secrets

“War for the Planet of the Apes” star Andy Serkis sits with Access Hollywood Live’s Natalie Morales and guest co-host Alfonso Ribeiro and discusses the visual effect technology that brought his character, Caesar, to the big screen. Plus, what would an Oscar nomination mean to Andy? “War for the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters now.


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‘Imagine’ pianist reveals story behind Bataclan performance

The mysterious pianist who played John Lennon’s “Imagine” outside of Paris’ Bataclan theatre on Saturday morning (Nov. 14) has shared the heartwarming backstory about his moving performance.
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Chris Stapleton Soars to No. 1 After CMA Performance

Following Chris Stapleton’s breakthrough night on the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, the singer/songwriter earns his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart as his "Traveller" album makes a spectacular reentry atop the list — straight in at No. 1.
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Liam Gallagher Namechecks Noel During Performance At Irish Pub

Liam Gallagher referenced brother Noel in an unknown song played during an impromptu set at a pub in Charlestown, on the west coast of Ireland.
Liam surprised patrons of JJ Finan’s pub by joining local musicians in the bar where he played a few songs on his guitar.
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Ashanti Reportedly Hit With Bottle During Australian Performance

Ashanti was reportedly hit with a bottle during her performance in Australia after she showed up late and cut her performance short. “Concert-goers have targeted Ja Rule and Ashanti who were scheduled to hit the stage at 11:30pm, three hours after doors opened, did not come on until 12:30am and only performed for half an hour,” Boom 92 Houston reports.
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Hunter Hayes Joins Restaurant Performer In Impromptu Performance

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Rich Homie Quan — Bails on BET Performance After Stage Demotion

Rich Homie Quan is main stage or no stage at all … and that’s why you didn’t see him at Sunday night’s BET Awards. RHQ was supposed to be on the telecast, but according to our sources … he showed up to rehearsal Saturday and was told by producers…

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Justin Bieber & Cody Simpson — Italian Restaurant Performance Molto Bene (VIDEO)

Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson spiced things up at an Italian joint Monday night … with an acoustic set. They showed up at The Nice Guy in West Hollywood at around 9 PM, and treated the dinner crowd to their 2014 duet,…

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Kanye West Pissed Billboard Censored His Performance To Oblivion

It doesn’t take much to throw Kanye West off his mood game but he arguably has a case after the noise-cancelling job the Billboard Music Awards producers did during his performance of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead.”

As we reported earlier, the original live televised version missed a few n-word bombs but by the time it aired for us on the West Coast, the producers just threw in the towel and pushed the mute button.

Now, hell is waiting around the corner for payback.

Reports TMZ:

Kanye West is pissed off at the Billboard Awards for heavily censoring his performance of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead” because he says they cut his audio even when he wasn’t dropping profanities.

Kanye’s mostly-silenced closing act was the talk of the award show — but sources close to the rapper tell us producers knew when he was going to curse because he gave them the lyrics exactly as he performed them … and yet they yanked his audio for up to 15 seconds at a time.

Our sources point out that during “Black Skinhead” a lot of clean lyrics were censored. For instance, the lines — “My leather black jeans on” … and “Middle America” were dropped. In other cases, it appears the censor had an itchy trigger finger, and pulled the audio several seconds early.

As we reported … Kanye did not attend final rehearsal — but we’re told that’s because doctors had him on vocal rest. He even needed a cortisone shot over the weekend. Still, he did 2 rehearsals in L.A. earlier in the week for Billboard.

As for the fact you couldn’t see Kanye — we’re told he gave producers a specific note about changing lighting and camera angles. We’re told Yeezy’s a perfectionist when it comes to his final product, and feels like they screwed him.

His people also released an infuriated statement:

Kanye West was grossly over-censored at the Billboard Music Awards. Non-profane lyrics such as “with my leather black jeans on” were muted for over 30 second intervals. As a result, his voice and performance were seriously misrepresented.

It is ridiculous that in 2015, unwarranted censorship is something that artists still have to fight against.

Although West was clearly set up to face elements beyond his control during the live broadcast, he would like to apologize to the television audience who were unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned.

If you missed it or need a refresher, the latest Kanye West Billboard Music Awards performance can be seen below.


Photo: WENN

The post Kanye West Pissed Billboard Censored His Performance To Oblivion appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

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Jennifer Lopez — Smartphone Disses Mariah Carey During Billboard Music Awards Performance

Jennifer Lopez threw a ton of shade at Mariah Carey … by burying her head in her smartphone while MC was hitting high notes onstage at the Billboard Music Awards — and the video is epic. You’ve gotta see it — while…

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TMZ Celebrity News for Music


Van Halen Set Tour, First TV Performance With David Lee Roth in Decades

Van Halen will make their first major TV performances since David Lee Roth rejoined the group in 2006. The first will take place over two nights on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, airing on March 30th and March 31st, and the second will be on Ellen on April 2nd. The group have…
RollingStone.com: News

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Travis Barker Promises Hard-Hitting ‘WrestleMania’ Performance

Travis Barker knew he’d be performing at WWE’s WrestleMania with Skylar Grey and Kid Ink for a while now – he’s even mentioned it in previous interviews – but he was never really clear what he’d be performing. Until this morning, that is.

“I just got the music that I’m playing!”…
RollingStone.com: News

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT NEWS UPDATE:Click and Enjoy!

A Breakout Performance Grounds A Challenging, Funny ‘Togetherness’

It’s odd to think that a whole new genre of television has blossomed in the last few years — an exciting new category that didn’t exist several years ago.

“Togetherness,” a fine new HBO offering from Jay and Mark Duplass and Steve Zissis, sits very squarely at the center of this new subgenre, which unites the artistic strengths and intimate scale of independent cinema with the narrative rewards of character-driven television.

“Togetherness” can be hard to watch at times, given that it looks unflinchingly at the difficulties of marriage and friendship as middle age approaches, but the show is absolutely worth sticking with, if only for the virtuoso performance from Zissis, whose failed-actor character is one of the finest new creations to arrive on television in some time.

With HBO rolling out a whole evening of shows exhibiting this loose-yet-disciplined indie aesthetic — “Girls” and “Looking” also return in typically worthwhile form Sunday — it feels like the trend that began a few years ago with “Louie” and Lena Dunham’s thinkpiece generator has blossomed into a full-fledged flood. What a welcome outpouring.

Yes, you could subtitle HBO’s Sunday programming block “Say Hello to Narcissists in Coastal Cities,” but the half-hour running times often makes the characters’ self-absorption easier to take. In any event, interrogating that selfishness is sometimes the point of these shows, and there is such compassion, wit and intelligent nuance woven through these programs that I’ve never felt the urge to give up on them. That’s partly because the characters on these shows are hard to forget, and the programs themselves — by turns low-key, snarky and profound — can serve as a nice break from television’s more overwrought, bombastic and stylized fare.

“Louie” and “Girls” might be the most high-profile exemplars of the trend toward half-hour shows that explore the lives of neurotic, talkative, educated men and women, but a bunch of variations on those models have arrived in the last year or two. These programs are not really comedies (unless that’s a useful designation for awards-seeking purposes). True, they often have amusing moments, but these shows are most often driven by complex emotional situations and personal dilemmas. Not a lot happens, at least in a plot or story sense; it’s all about the knotty personal journeys the characters go on, and over time, the best shows quietly build up a good deal of emotional weight.

Linda Holmes recently wrote about how the one-hour family drama has largely gone away, at least on the bigger networks, but I think, to some degree, that kind of emotionally driven storytelling has migrated to the fringes, to places like ABC Family (“The Fosters,” “Switched at Birth”), to soaps (“Jane the Virgin“) and often to these indie-flavored TV shows. As many cable and broadcast networks increasingly seek out high-concept shows and adaptations of well-known properties, programs about intimacy, families (blood-related and self-created), emotional crises and tangled relationships have had to find new homes, and I hope streaming services and risk-taking cable outfits continue to take chances on them.

Even within this smallish subgenre, there’s a great deal of welcome variation: The late, lamented “Enlightened” was more visually poetic and disciplined than the shaggier entries in this category; the late, lamented “Men of a Certain Age” was an hourlong program and had a slightly more comedic approach to its characters’ bittersweet middle-aged crises; “You’re the Worst” is more sprightly than some other entries in this group but it’s every bit as intelligent and dryly comic as its peers; “Looking” is more openly romantic and features characters who are not straight and not always white (hooray); and “Transparent,” which delves into sexuality, identity and family politics with jaw-dropping craftiness, shares a vibe and a Duplass with “Togetherness,” but it generally has a different set of narrative concerns. (Jay and Mark Duplass directed most episodes and created “Togetherness” with Zissis, and Mark Duplass plays one of the leads; Jay Duplass plays one of the leads in “Transparent.”)

It’s easy to picture a “Togetherness”/”Transparent” crossover; they’re both about groups of families and friends who live in Los Angeles and who are restless about where they are in their lives. Like “Transparent,” “Togetherness” is quietly observational and allows small moments to breathe, and both can be wickedly funny. Both shows (along with “You’re the Worst”) feature indictments of entertainment-industry douchebags, and I’m superficial enough to love it when they engage in that kind of needling satire.

There are two story threads in “Togetherness”: One follows Brett and his wife, Michelle, who have two young children and have hit a rough patch in their marriage. Brett can be hard to take; another character calls him a “grumpy, anal vegan” and that’s pretty accurate. He can be cold and has a tendency to talk over and steamroll his shy, tentative wife, Michelle (Melanie Lynskey), and it can be hard to watch her struggle to express her needs and assert herself. Lynskey’s heart-rending, vanity-free performance makes it clear how much Michelle has had to shut herself down to keep the peace and to keep the family functioning, and I often wondered if Brett deserved her. “Togetherness” is only eight episodes long, and at times, I wished either the season had been longer or a little more time had been spent on establishing what Michelle and Brett liked and loved about each other before their marriage began to fly apart.

Then again, even if the show had done that, it can simply be difficult to watch another couple go through a warts-and-all marriage crisis, but I respect “Togetherness” for committing to a realistic and complicated portrayal of the couple’s problems. Those issues are, ironically, the kinds of problems you could easily find on a conventional sitcom: A busy family life means that a couple has grown apart and the wife’s sexual desire for her husband has waned, etc.

In any event, the weightiness of Michelle and Brett’s problems make it even more important that their story is deftly balanced by the stumbling adventures of the two other lead characters, Tina (Amanda Peet) and Alex (Zissis). The evolution of their unlikely friendship is goofier and warmer than the prickly domestic drama that occupies the other half of the show, and Peet and Zissis do a spectacular job of peeling back the surfaces of Tina and Alex to reveal the insecurity and fear lurking behind their casual facades. One of the most worthwhile things a television show can do is chronicle the history and impact of an emotional connection, and “Togetherness” is in top form in many of the later Alex-Tina scenes.

What is there to say about “Girls” that has not already been said by the Thinkpiece Industrial Complex? It remains invigoratingly itself and it continues to land in Hannah in a series of situations in which layers of thematic complexity stack up like delayed planes circling a busy airport. Hannah remains Hannah; she is blissfully unaware of how unaware she is of how she comes off, but Lena Dunham is very aware of her show’s place in the cultural conversation, and one of the most interesting features of the new season is the meta-commentary that is sprinkled through many scenes. I’d rather have Alex from “Togetherness” than Hannah from “Girls” crashing on my couch, but I enjoy watching both of them stumble through life like bulls wandering through well-stocked china shops.

I haven’t said much about “Looking” yet, though it may be my favorite of the three Sunday shows. “Looking” is so self-effacing and low-key that it tends to get lost in the television conversation, and that’s a mistake. Jonathan Groff’s Patrick is just as self-absorbed as any of the characters previously mentioned, but he’s also so endearingly naive and so charmingly open to new experiences that his adventures are impossible to resist. The entire ensemble has a wonderful ease together, and any show that makes sure Scott Bakula gets a decent amount of screen time is, by definition, doing something right.

It’s worth noting that “Looking” is one of the sweetest and most romantic shows on television, and one the best at depicting the complexity and curiosity that drives many sexual encounters. And though it makes me cringe a little to say this (Catholic schooling, etc.), I have to add that it’s becoming increasingly comical that HBO shows — any pay-cable shows, really — never show male genitalia during sex scenes.

I know, I know. In our culture, anything that shows male junk is coded as pornography, and HBO is way too fancy to let itself get branded with that kind of downmarket implication. But there’s a whole generation of filmmakers and storytellers on that network and elsewhere who are being forced to jump through a series of increasingly ridiculous hoops in order to not show a penis (and no, the fact that “Game of Thrones” showed Hodor’s … hodor a while back does not really count in this context).

These days, there are smart, mature and thoughtful treatments of sexuality to be found in “Looking,” “Transparent,” “Masters of Sex,” “Outlander,” “Girls,” among other shows; these are programs in which explorations of sexuality are important elements of character development. Yes, TV will always have some shows that whip out body parts for prurient or crass reasons, but we’re lucky to now have a whole array of programs in several different genres in which all kinds of desires, sexual and otherwise, are examined with thoroughness, compassion and intelligence. And yet, on many of these worthy programs, the elements of sexuality that directors and creators are forced to leave out of makes for some odd omissions, weird workarounds and strange camera angles.

No, it’s not the end of the world — a lack of penis on TV isn’t among the most important issues of our time. But yes, this skewed state of affairs does cause a person to sigh deeply — the idea that any number of random boobs and violent rapes on TV are okay, but oh my! What if a TV show made by and for grownups depicted a man’s equipment — why, the world might end!

Look, I understand the hesitation of networks, actors and viewers who would be weirded out by the idea of penis on TV. I hesitated to even bring this up, truthfully, lest anyone think that’s what I’m primarily looking for in a TV show (um, no). But it’s the fearlessness of a recent wave of good TV shows, including the three HBO shows mentioned here, that prompts these questions. There are a number of creators who seem willing to go anywhere with their characters, and the limits on their visions — wherever those limitations come from — are just increasingly obvious.

Sometimes I just wonder when TV will lose its last inhibition and let guys be not just emotionally naked but physically bare as well. Maybe never?

“Girls” airs Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO; “Togetherness” airs Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO; “Looking” airs Sunday at 10:00 p.m. on HBO.

Ryan McGee and I talked about “Banshee,” “Archer,” “Looking,” “Togetherness” and “Girls” in the latest Talking TV podcast, which is here, on iTunes and below.

Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

Chemistry.com gay - First Date 300x250

Atlanta’s Mo’Dest Volgare Serves the Most Offensive Holiday Drag Performance (NSFW VIDEO)

If you’re not offending somebody, you can’t call it “drag.” Cross dressing in any form flies in the face of so many societal expectations around gender, sexuality, and the symbols we use to express them. Drag queens take the offense of cross dressing and amplify it to an art form; the best queens try to shock as many people as possible through their performances. Every queen has a scat number, an off-color celebrity impersonation, and a lewd striptease. The cheery mainstream drag represented by RuPaul does not represent the true grassroots drag seen in clubs. Drag is punk rock done up in a wig and heels. It flips off the status quo with elegance and grace.

At the season finale of Dragnificent, Atlanta’s premier drag competition, I saw the most offensive number I believe exists. Celeste Holmes, host of Dragnificent, introduced the performer by telling the audience, “You are not prepared for this.” Celeste has been performing drag for three decades, and she said Mo’Dest Volgare‘s number was the wildest, most offensive piece of drag she had ever seen. I was dubious. I’d seen drag queens do Anne Frank, Helen Keller, and shit-stained fisting numbers. To shock me would take a ballsy performance.

Celeste was right. I was not prepared for Mo’Dest’s number.

The curtain opened up with Mo’Dest as the Virgin Mary kneeling before the angel Gabriel (played by Lola Bundy). Gabriel announces Mary’s impending pregnancy. Mary proclaims her desire to be God’s servant. Mo’Dest begins her lip sync: “Baby Daddy” by jazz vocalist Lil Armstrong. God walks in with a foot-long dong protruding from his robe. The Virgin Mary drops to her knees and begins to serve her gracious savior with professional deepthroat head. She rises to face the audience and reveals an extremely realistic pussy underneath her gown. Mary does not look like a virginal girl down there at all.

As Lil Armstrong wails on about the joys of “Baby Daddy” and “Big Daddy” making everything all right, Mary lies back while God pounds her with his big, heavenly dick. Mo’Dest shows us everything we wanted to know about the Immaculate Conception; she makes Mary’s innocent story a lurid and titillating tale of celestial intercourse.

The second half of Bible Tales by Mo’Dest Volgare gives us a more objective account of the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.

A very pregnant Mary gallops on stage riding a wooden horse; her pubic hair waves in the breeze. “Baby Daddy” by M$ ney comes on, and Mo’Dest starts her lip sync: “I don’t need a job. I need a baby daddy to pay for my Louis and Gucci bag habit. … Imma have this baby. This if fucking payday!” The song and Mo’Dest’s urban-stripper attitude cast the holy mother in an entirely new light.

Once Mary makes it to the stable, she lies back on a bale of hay as Joseph serves as midwife. He reaches deep into Mary and pulls out a large, naked (living) baby Jesus, covered in amniotic fluid, with an umbilical cord hanging out of him. Mo’Dest takes the umbilical cord as a leash and finishes her lip sync; her creamy thighs are covered in blood, and her vulva still hangs out for everyone to see.

This number captures what I love about drag and the spirit of Mo’Dest Volgare so well. When I see this performance, I see a young gay man taking the frustrations and hardships of his life and turning them into a spectacle of depraved humor. Mo’Dest came from a very conservative, Christian, suburban, middle-class, white family. When he came out to them, he was disowned for his sinful ways. As a young man today, Mo’Dest lives the life of urban Atlanta poverty; food stamps, taking public transit, living in dangerous areas, and struggling to survive have been part of his life for years. Mo’Dest’s appropriation of the music, dance, symbols, and attitude of hip-hop is an expression of class solidarity, even if some perceive it as racially insensitive. The joy Mo’Dest has performing this number is palpable; it’s as if this unholy extravaganza removes years of negativity from her soul.

Mo’Dest’s interpretation of the Virgin Birth shows audiences exactly who Mo’Dest is: a strong performer willing to take on the fables of religion, even if it means pissing off the audience. Mo’Dest has consistently used the styles of urban black culture in her outfits, wigs, music, and attitude; this is both daring and truthful to the life she lives. She is a highly political, controversial queen channeling her struggles into conceptual drag, and that is why I love her. In the religious, racially divided South, a ‘hood-style Mary getting knocked up by God, bleeding on stage, and singing about Jesus as a payday might possibly offend everyone in the audience; this is what Mo’Dest lives for.

I would argue that the more people you offend with your drag, the more successful you are as a performer. Unfortunately, this was not the view of the judges of this cycle of Dragnificent. Mo’Dest received third place behind Chyna White and winner Jazelle. But when it comes to exemplifying the depraved catharsis possible through drag, Mo’Dest is always the winner.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

Chemistry.com gay - First Date 300x250

Exclusive: Tim McGraw’s Secret to a Great Performance – Oprah’s Master Class – OWN

Grammy-winning country musician Tim McGraw says it’s not the big stage, the smoke or the lights that make a performance. Watch to see what two qualities Tim says an artist needs to be great.

More from this episode:
http://www.oprah.com/own-master-class/Oprahs-Master-Class-with-Tim-McGraw

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Miley Cyrus aimed to ‘make history’ with video awards performance

Singer Miley Cyrus performs "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New YorkBy Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Disney star Miley Cyrus says she was out to shock and "make history" and is unapologetic for her raunchy performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. In a documentary, "Miley: The Movement," airing on MTV on October 2, the 20-year-old singer and actress comes across as a shrewd, ambitious performer determined to see her single, "We Can't Stop," hit No. 1 and put her roots as the wholesome Disney Channel star of "Hannah Montana" far behind her. …



Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Miley Cyrus aimed to ‘make history’ with video awards performance

Singer Miley Cyrus performs "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New YorkBy Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Disney star Miley Cyrus says she was out to shock and "make history" and is unapologetic for her raunchy performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. In a documentary, "Miley: The Movement," airing on MTV on October 2, the 20-year-old singer and actress comes across as a shrewd, ambitious performer determined to see her single, "We Can't Stop," hit No. 1 and put her roots as the wholesome Disney Channel star of "Hannah Montana" far behind her. …



Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Carnegie Hall concert goes on, after strike canceled performance

By Luke Swiderski NEW YORK (Reuters) – A performance by the American Symphony Orchestra proceeded as planned at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Thursday, a day after the famed concert hall canceled a separate performance for the first time in its 122-year history because of a labor dispute. A strike by stagehands forced the cancellation, but the union temporarily suspended its strike on Thursday, allowing the concert hall to open its doors for now. A union leader told Reuters he was optimistic the two sides could reach a permanent deal by Friday. …
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Miley Cyrus aimed to 'make history' with video awards performance

Singer Miley Cyrus performs "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New YorkBy Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Disney star Miley Cyrus says she was out to shock and "make history" and is unapologetic for her raunchy performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. In a documentary, "Miley: The Movement," airing on MTV on October 2, the 20-year-old singer and actress comes across as a shrewd, ambitious performer determined to see her single, "We Can't Stop," hit No. 1 and put her roots as the wholesome Disney Channel star of "Hannah Montana" far behind her. …



Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Carnegie Hall concert goes on, after strike canceled performance

By Luke Swiderski NEW YORK (Reuters) – A performance by the American Symphony Orchestra proceeded as planned at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Thursday, a day after the famed concert hall canceled a separate performance for the first time in its 122-year history because of a labor dispute. A strike by stagehands forced the cancellation, but the union temporarily suspended its strike on Thursday, allowing the concert hall to open its doors for now. A union leader told Reuters he was optimistic the two sides could reach a permanent deal by Friday. …
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News