For GQ, Alex Pappademas attempts to have a conversation with 63-year-old Dwight Yoakam, whose frenetic and continuous musical connection making acts as the perfect defense against meaningful human connection.
Every generation gets its own Keanu Reeves, except every generation’s Keanu Reeves is this Keanu Reeves. Alex Pappademas attempts to separate the man from the myth.
Jackie Chan is a one-man industry. Like all one-man industries, however, he relies on many, many other people. This GQ profile of Chan by Alex Pappademas introduces you to the man himself, but also to those around him: co-stars, directors, and most important of all, the Jackie Chan Stunt Team.
(NSFW, not single-page) An in-depth profile of rap legend the D.O.C., who penned many of N.W.A.’s and Eazy-E’s early songs and became an on-again, off-again studio partner to Dr. Dre:
“The shine finally started to trickle down. N.W.A’s first national tour opened in Nashville in the spring of 1989, with Doc doing eight minutes a night as an opening act. The crowds dug him. No One Can Do It Better dropped that June; within three months it sold 500,000 copies. By the end of the tour he was doing 30-minute sets. Radio picked up on “It’s Funky Enough,” a Dre production with way more commercial reach than, say, ‘Fuck tha Police.’ Years later, when Rolling Stone asked Chris Rock to make a list of the greatest rap albums of all time, the comedian put No One Can Do It Better at number 11. ‘I was going to school in Brooklyn,” he wrote, “and the only time you could see rap videos was on a weekend show with Ralph McDaniels called Video Music Box. D.O.C.’s video for ‘It’s Funky Enough’ premiered, and D.O.C. had an L.A. Kings hat on. When I came to school on Monday, half the kids in Brooklyn had L.A. Kings hats on. It was official.'”
On the road with Dan Harmon, the exiled creator of Community, now sharing his deepest confessions with a live audience:
“So Harmon gets up onstage, confesses to the crime of being Dan Harmon — bad boyfriend, high-functioning alcoholic, approval-hungry self-Googling6 mansion-owning gardener-having man-baby, petty, loathsome human — and somehow the results are cathartic and funny, and the essential truth that we are all shitty people and therefore we are all in this together is affirmed. Sometimes it’s like being at a weird college seminar run by a substitute teacher in the middle of a drunken meltdown and sometimes it’s like hanging out in Dan Harmon’s living room. Sometimes people from the audience wander onstage; sometimes when this happens (or when Jeff says something like How’s everybody doing tonight? and Harmon interrupts and tells the crowd that they don’t have to answer that with applause if they don’t want to) it feels like all the basic assumptions and rules of entertainment are up for debate. It’s almost never boring, it’s usually funny, and whenever the energy flags, Jeff Davis will cue up a hip-hop beat on his iPad and Harmon will start freestyle rapping, usually about fucking somebody’s mom, and dancing like a 3-year-old in footie pajamas who’s been allowed to stay up late to put on a show for cocktail-party guests.”
It happens about once a year in hip-hop production: someone invents or perfects a sound, someone figures out how to get a weird noise out of some piece of technology not designed to make that noise, someone figures out a way to make a drum machine say the same old thing with a different accent and the whole rap world tilts on its axis. If you manage to change the beat — if your sound drifts upstream from mix tapes to pop radio, if it becomes the only thing anybody wants to hear — you can change hip-hop.
MTV’s “Teen Wolf” was conceived as a darker, sexier reimagining of the “Teen Wolf” story, and also a gorier one. Within the first few minutes of the pilot episode, for example, Posey’s character, Scott McCall, discovers the naked, dismembered body of a young woman in the woods. So it’s clear right away that this will not be a sweet, silly sports comedy, like the old “Teen Wolf.” There will also be brooding! There will probably not be triumphant werewolf-basketball montages!
Winona Ryder has this problem, and as problems go it’s pretty solidly in the first-world category, she knows, but it’s a problem, still: She’ll be having a conversation with somebody—an interesting conversation, the kind two regular people have when they discover a mutual admiration for, like, Philip Roth’s American Pastoral or something. And then suddenly the person she’s having the conversation with will say something to her that reminds her that (a) she is Winona Ryder, the famous actress, and (b) nearly everyone she meets already has “this whole idea” of who she is, already thinks they know everything there is to know about her, more or less. And inevitably when this happens, she starts thinking about what it is people think they know about her, which is never a good idea, and the conversation never really recovers.
Profile of “Jersey Shore”‘s Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino. “Sure, they all got shithouse drunk and screamed bleeped curse words in one another’s faces and flashed their thongs and referred to girls who didn’t meet their rigorous physical-attractiveness standards as ‘grenades’ and generally embodied every negative stereotype associated with Italian-American culture you can embody without murdering someone for control of a gambling syndicate. But they never seemed less than totally genuine, something you can’t say about the last ten years of ‘Real World’ fuckbots, and they lived, for the most part, by a bro code, and they kept each other in line, and they always said grace at dinner. They were less like the Sopranos and more like the Simpsons—irascible cartoons with skin tones not found in nature, accused of contributing to the decline of family values while actually reaffirming those values. And over the course of two seasons, they’ve grown into the most charismatic characters on TV.”