ENTERTAINMENT

Watch the new trailer for the 15-year Rooster Teeth documentary

[embedded content] Being an online video star might seem cool or even glamorous these days, but Burnie Burns, co-founder and chief creative officer at Rooster Teeth, can remember when that wasn’t the case. Rooster Teeth, which is behind the popular web series Red vs. Blue, is turning 15 years old this month. (The studio was acquired by Fullscreen a few years ago.) And Burns has been looking back at its history as part of the upcoming documentary Why We’re Here: 15 Years of Rooster Teeth. He acknowledged that nowadays, anyone in the business is competing with “an enormous noise,” but at the same time, Burns said, “There’s the misconception that because no one was doing this when we got started, that made it easier. It’s really difficult to go into a place where no one else is and no one els...

Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ revival feels surprisingly heartfelt

Netflix’s revival of Queer Eye transports five gay men around Georgia, where they remake the lives of individuals in sore need of their assistance. Each member of the “Fab Five” has their own specialty — food, fashion, grooming, design and culture. This might sound like just another reality show, but as one of the Fab Five declares in the first episode, where the original show was about tolerance, the new one is about acceptance, in many forms. It’s not a preachy series, but there’s a message under the surface, and the politics occasionally burst out into the open. And as we admit in the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the new Queer Eye formula ends up being surprisingly affecting — we won’t name names, but more than one of us found themselves crying at the end of episodes....

Spotify’s missing money-maker is artist-to-fan messaging

Streaming royalties are too expensive for Spotify to thrive as a public company just playing us songs. Spotify’s shares closed down 10 percent today during its NYSE trading debut. Luckily it controls much of the relationship between musicians and their fans on its app, poising it to build a powerful revenue and artist loyalty generator by connecting the two through native advertising and messaging that doesn’t stop the music. Spotify already has a wide range of ad experiences built for traditional brands, from audio ads to display units to sponsored sessions where users get ad-free playback in exchange for watching a commercial. But none of these ad units are designed to help musicians grow their audience within Spotify, even if they can be bent to that purpose. Spotify could win big by fo...

Alexa’s routines can now play music, podcasts and radio shows

Alexa’s routines are getting a musical upgrade. First launched last year, routines allow Alexa device owners to string together a series of actions that kick off with a simple command — like “good morning” or “I’m home,” for example. Until today, the feature included support for news, weather, traffic, smart home skills, as well as, more recently, a set of “Alexa says” commands that let you add a little personality to a given routine. Starting today, Alexa can play your favorite music, podcast or radio show in a routine, too. To use the feature, you’ll select an artist, playlist, album or station from your music library or one of the supported streaming services. Currently, the supported services are those that already work with Alexa — Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Saavn, D...

What to expect when Spotify goes public Tuesday

Digital music giant Spotify is joining the stock market on Tuesday, making it the biggest consumer tech company to go public since Snap debuted early last year. But unlike Snap, Spotify isn’t doing an IPO. The “o” part of IPO stands for offering and Spotify isn’t raising any money. Instead, existing Spotify shareholders will be selling shares directly onto the stock market. This means that employees, venture capitalists or anyone else who managed to buy Spotify shares on the  “secondary markets” can make money right away. But Spotify doesn’t know yet how many will want to sell their shares. In fact, no one really knows how this “direct listing” is going to go. Even in Spotify’s prospectus, the company acknowledged that what it’s doing is “risky.” Smaller companies have listed without an IP...

Nostalgia eats itself in ‘Ready Player One’

First things first: I had a really good time watching Ready Player One. As promised, the movie feels like a chance for Steven Spielberg to return to his roots as a blockbuster filmmaker, and to take all the toys out of the box and smash them together. The film is based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel, with a script by Cline and Zak Penn. It’s ostensibly set in Columbus, Ohio, 30 years in the future, in a world overwhelmed by climate change and overpopulation. But Ready Player One‘s real setting is the OASIS, an enormous virtual reality world. The story’s hero is Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan), who spends most of his time in the OASIS, hoping to complete three challenges  left behind by James Halliday, the technology’s inventor. Halliday has promised that the first person to comple...

Unexpected eviction of Bambam rocks BBNaija House

Popular Bambam in the reality TV show was unexpectedly evicted from the Big Brother (Biggie) house on Saturday after the Legend night party. Bambam Perennial host Ebuka Uchendu joined the housemates for their weekly Saturday night party. Read Also: BBNaija ‘Double Wahala’: Show sponsors displeased as CeeC alters dress, insults dressmaker Shortly after Ebuka enjoyed an evening of high life music with the housemates, he announced the arrival of an unexpected guest, Steve from Deloitte. In an unusual turn of event, Steve handed over the envelope containing the name of the next housemate to leave the house. Ebuka called Bambam as the housemate with the lowest percentage of votes. Typically, Saturdays are reserved for the weekly party sponsored by Legend extra stout while e...

Original Content podcast: We drop by Netflix’s ‘Terrace House’

Terrace House is a tough show to explain. Like The Real World and other reality TV, the show puts a group of largely young and attractive strangers together in a house. But that’s about where the similarities end. On Terrace House, most of the cast members genuinely seem to be rooting for each other. And while there’s drama, it’s scaled way back, so that passive aggressive remarks about soup can end up dominating an episode. Darrell’s a big fan, so on this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we checked out the latest season, Opening New Doors (a co-production of Netflix and Japanese TV network Fuji). Sadly, this is his final episode as a regular host, but at least he got to go out with a bang. (And we’re hoping to lure him back.) We also covered the week’s streaming and enterta...

Everyone wants a piece of you in Nollywood – Scarlet Gomez

Multitalented Scarlet Gomez is no doubts a woman of many parts. The Lagos born actress, singer and model, has againstall odds attained an admirable level of success in all three of her careers. Though a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Lagos, the Ogun State indigene knew from an early stage that entertainment is her true calling. In this interview she lets us into her world, read on. BY ADETUTU ADESOJI There was a buzz on social media last year when the picture of your wedding dress surfaced, what is the motive behind your purple wedding dress? I wanted something different and unusual. White is normal and I didn’t want normal, I was tired of the bride and a white dress thing, so, I opted for a purple dress, that’s all. What has marriage experi...

Alexa gets a DVR recording skill

Slowly but surely, Alexa’s becoming a more competent catchall video assistant. Back in January, Amazon launched its Video Skill API designed to offer more control over apps from cable and satellite companies. An update this week brings the ever-important ability to use the smart assistant to start recording. The skill joins a number of functions already available from top providers, including Dish, TiVo, and DIRECTV and Verizon — each of whom will likely be updating their Alexa skill set to reflect the new feature. The whole thing works pretty much as you’d expect. Say, “Alexa, record the A’s game,” and the associated service will do just that. Or, you know, any baseball team, really.  Also new in this update is the ability to jump directly into frequently used navigation options, like DVR...

‘Black Panther’ just became North America’s highest-grossing superhero movie

After the remarkable string of weekends it’s been having, it was really just a matter of time before Black Panther wrestled the top spot from his fellow Avengers. As of today, the Ryan Coogler-directed film is North America’s highest grossing superhero film of all-time (not adjusted for inflation, mind). The news comes via The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the film has pulled in $624 million on the continent, roaring past 2012’s The Avengers, which made $623.4 million. The film, which cost around $200 million, is now one of only seven movies to make more than $600 million, domestically. Black Panther has been pulling in money at a steady clip since opening, with a record-setting $218 million opening weekend. Worldwide, it’s pulled in $1.2 billion and is on-track to become the third ...

Original Content podcast: Confronting the tragedy of Hulu’s ‘Looming Tower’

The Looming Tower, a new series on Hulu, approaches the September 11 terrorist attacks from an unusual angle — instead of focusing on the day itself, it tells the story of the FBI and CIA investigations into Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s. In some ways, the show feels like a police procedural, with Jeff Daniels as the FBI’s John O’Neill and Peter Sarsgaard as Martin Schmidt, his counterpart in the CIA. Except we all know where this investigation is leading. On this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we discuss our initial impressions of the show (new episodes are still airing each week), how it combines fact and fiction, and how it compares to the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Lawrence Wright. We also cover Amy Poehler’s deal to direct and star in a film for Netflix, the controve...